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Winnipeg Jets Head Into Olympic Break Against St. Louis Blues: Preview

The Winnipeg Jets (28-26-5) will have one final test before the Olympic break: The St. Louis Blues (38-12-6), who have been one of the best teams in the Western Conference all season.

 

 

The Blues have continued to be a powerhouse in the Western Conference with a big win agaisnt the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. Despite that, they have only won 6 of their last 10 games. The Jets, on the other hand, have been the hottest team in the entire league as of late, although they were defeated by the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. The Jets have won eight of their last 10, and are 9-3 since Paul Maurice became head coach of the club. In the last meeting between the two on December 10th, the Blues defeated the Jets at home 2-1, extending their all-time record against the Jets to 3-0-1.

Neither team will have a morning skate before the game, so the guessing game begins over who will start in net for each team. The Jets could start Al Montoya, who has been fantastic in his past two games. Montoya, who last played on Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens, has a .928% save percentage and 2.14 GAA in 17 games this season. The Blues would likely counter with Brian Elliott, who made a 28-save winning effort on February 1st. Elliott has a .917% save percentage and 2.10 GAA in 23 appearances this season. Both Ondrej Pavelec (Czech Republic) and Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia) could both be on the bench in their final game before heading to the Olympics. Both goaltenders have played their team’s last two games.

The Jets will be without Evander Kane, who has been out for the past week with a hand infection. Also out of action for Winnipeg are Matt Halischuk (broken arm), Jim Slater (hernia surgery), and Grant Clitsome (season-ending back surgery). Paul Postma will play his first game in over four months, after a blood clot kept him out of the lineup since October. The Blues are without Vladimir Sobotka, who is out through the Olympics with a left leg injury. Vladimir Tarasenko missed the Blues’ game against the Bruins on Thursday with the flu, but is expected to return on Saturday.

The Jets will need some inspiration from their game against the Chicago Blackhawks a little less than two weeks ago. With Montoya in goal, the Jets took a rare win out of the United Center, holding off a ferocious attack from the ‘Hawks, and being opportunistic, winning 3-1. The Blues are currently in a better playoff position than Chicago, and any divisional win would be huge for the team as they prepare for the stretch run once the season resumes later in the month.

The Jets are 14-15-4 on the road this season, and hold a 6-12-3 record within the Central Division. The Blues have not lost in regulation against a fellow Central Division team (14-0-1), The Blues also have the most home wins in the Western Conference, with a 21-5-3 record.

 

You can catch the game on TSN Jets, and listen live on TSN 1290 Radio. Non-regional viewers can view the game on Fox Sports – Midwest. The game gets underway at 1PM CT.

 

Thanks for reading. For more Winnipeg Jets conversation and live game updates follow us on twitter @hkyattheforks. For a look on the St. Louis side of the fence, check out bleedinblue.com.

 

Tags: St. Louis Blues Winnipeg Jets

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