The St. Louis Blues will bid for their eighth consecutive victory when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday afternoon.
The Western Conference-leading Blues defeated the Jets 5-4 in overtime Friday night in the first half of a home-and-home sequence with their Central Division rivals.
It was the first meeting between these teams this season. The Blues took 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 leads, but the Jets tied the game each time and forced overtime.
“We were never out of it,” said Jets winger Kyle Connor, who scored twice in the game. “We kept fighting back. It was a good battle. It sucks that we’re on the wrong end of it finishing off.”
Blues winger David Perron finally decided the game with his breakaway goal in the 3-on-3 format.
“We’ve been playing some pretty good hockey and we’ve got a good streak going on,” said Perron, who has scored at least one point in 15 of his last 18 games. “It was definitely nice to keep it going, get it. We find different ways to win games. Even though they tied it up late there we just kept hammering away.”
This was the Blues’ fifth straight one-goal victory in Winnipeg, dating back to last season and the first-round playoff series they won in six games.
“It gives us confidence, gives us stuff to build on,” said Blues forward Tyler Bozak, who scored twice. “Obviously we still have a lot of things we need to work on. We have to get better, but it does give us that confidence to keep playing well. A lot of games have been tight games, so finding ways to win those is also huge.”
The Jets have lost five of their last seven — and they allowed 26 goals in those five defeats. After going 8-2-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage in November, goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has gone 4-3-2 with a 3.21 GAA and a .903 save percentage this month.
Captain Blake Wheeler said his team needs more consistent effort up and down the lineup.
“We had some guys that looked real good from the drop of the puck,” Wheeler said. “It took others some time to get into it. There was some good we can take out of that. Some guys can be happy with their performance.”
The Jets will seek another level for the rematch at Enterprise Center. “Hopefully the next game we can bring a little bit more to the table,” Wheeler said.
“I think there was a lot of good things in that game that we need to take with us to St. Louis. … We had some chances to get two points,” said winger Patrik Laine, who has eight goals and nine assists in his last 14 games. “I think they were playing the way we expected before the game. They’re a tough team to beat, that’s for sure.”
Blues coach Craig Berube wants to see his team checking the Jets more closely during the rematch.
“We’ve got to be better defensively,” he said. “I thought that some of the goals were just breakdowns that we normally don’t do, and we can be better. Again, they’re a good team and we’re going to be challenged on Sunday.”
–Field Level Media