NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 8th (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (28-26-5) at St. Louis Blues (38-12-6), 2 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets will try to rebound from only their third loss under Paul Maurice when they visit the St. Louis Blues for Saturday's afternoon battle at Scottrade Center.
The Jets went 9-2-0 in their first 11 games after Maurice replaced the fired Claude Noel as head coach, but Winnipeg faltered in its last outing and lost a 4-2 road decision to the Washington Capitals.
Maurice's club carried a 2-1 lead into the third period of Thursday's game in D.C., but the Caps scored three unanswered goals over the final 20 minutes to take the contest.
"We'll leave this game entirely here. We're not bringing any of it on the plane. We will look at the things structurally that are part of every game, not just specific to the Washington game, and keep trying to get better," said Maurice.
Bryan Little and Dustin Byfuglien had one goal apiece for the Jets, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Ondrej Pavelec allowed all four goals on 30 shots in the setback.
Saturday marks the final day of NHL action before the league goes on hiatus for the Olympic break and Winnipeg hopes to use its last game prior to the Sochi Games to improve its playoff chances. Thanks in large part to the team's resurgence under Maurice, the Jets enter Saturday only three points out of the last postseason spot in the West.
The Jets are 14-15-1 as the visiting team this season and are completing a four-game road trip on Saturday. Winnipeg's next game is scheduled for Feb. 27 against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.
While Winnipeg is trying to work its way into the Western Conference playoff picture, the Blues are busy chasing down Chicago for first place in the Central Division. With 82 points, St. Louis is trailing the defending Stanley Cup champions by two points for the division lead but the Blues have four games in hand over the Blackhawks.
The Blues have posted a 5-1-1 record over their last seven games. The club's last three outings have gone past regulation, including Thursday's overtime win against visiting Boston.
St. Louis carried a 2-0 lead over the Bruins into the third period before letting Boston tie it with goals from David Krejci and Brad Marchand. However, T.J. Oshie was able to deliver the game-winner for the Blues at 3:29 of overtime when he prevented Boston's clearing attempt behind the net and jammed the puck past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who bounced back from a 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Alexander Steen also lit the lamp, while Jaroslav Halak stopped 36-of-38 shots for the win.
"Our most competitive player tonight was the goalie," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Halak. "The goalie was outstanding, and he helped us a lot."
The Blues played Thursday without forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who is battling flu-like symptoms and is questionable for Saturday.
St. Louis boasts a superb 21-5-3 record this season at the Scottrade Center and the club is completing a four-game homestand on Saturday afternoon. The Blues will emerge from the Olympic break by playing three straight and six of seven on the road.
The Blues next game is scheduled for Feb. 26 in Anaheim.
St. Louis is 2-0-1 against the Jets in 2013-14 and has taken five of the past six meetings versus the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. The Blues are 5-1-1 in seven all-time home matchups in this series.
02/08 16:01:19 ET