Preview: Blues at Jets
The St. Louis Blues hope to pick up where they left off before Christmas break when they head to Winnipeg on Friday to face the Jets in the first part of a home-and-home series. The defending Stanley Cup champions have won six games in a row and 10 of their past 13 following Monday’s 4-1 victory at Los Angeles, as center Brayden Schenn scored twice to help lift the Blues to a Western Conference-leading 54 points entering the holidays.
“It’s crazy what a little bit of winning and confidence can do to a hockey team and, you know, obviously we’re feeling it as a group right now,” Schenn told reporters after the Blues won their eighth consecutive game against Western Conference competition. “We believe in one another coming to the rink.” That belief has shown itself early in games as St. Louis is 16-0-4 when scoring first this season, and it fueled Monday’s victory as the Blues scored four times in the first 12:21. Winnipeg limped into the holidays after a 6-2 home loss Monday against Montreal, falling to 2-4-0 in its past six games while giving up 24 goals with its penalty kill allowing seven goals in 14 chances in that span. But Jets coach Paul Maurice was not too concerned about Monday’s performance, telling reporters afterward, “It was a tough night. We’ve had a bunch of good nights.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FS Midwest (St. Louis), TSN3 (Winnipeg)
ABOUT THE BLUES (24-8-6): Forward David Perron leads St. Louis in points with 37 after picking up two assists Monday, giving him seven points (four assists) during a four-game point streak that began with a hat trick Dec. 16 against Colorado. Schenn registered his second straight two-point game Monday and has five points (three goals) in his past three games. Goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 29-of-30 shots against Los Angeles to win his fourth consecutive game, improving to 8-3-0 in his past 11 appearances with a .925 save percentage.
ABOUT THE JETS (21-14-2): Center Mark Scheifele assisted on both Winnipeg goals Monday to give him 15 points in his past 10 games (eight goals, seven assists), with at least one point in nine of those 10 contests. Forward Patrik Laine scored his 14th goal of the season against Montreal, his seventh in 10 games this month and fifth in the past five games. Backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit made 42 saves Monday as Winnipeg was outshot 48-29, while starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is 2-3-0 with a .894 save percentage in his past five contests.
1. Winnipeg has allowed four goals or more in each of its past four losses.
2. The Blues are 9-0-4 this season when leading after the first period.
3. St. Louis is sixth in the NHL in power play percentage (23.7 percent) while the Jets are 29th on the penalty kill (73.3 percent).
PREDICTION: Blues 5, Jets 3