Preview: Jets at Blues
The St. Louis Blues host the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday in their penultimate game of the 2019 calendar year, and it’s been a remarkable journey for the hottest team in the NHL and defending Stanley Cup champions. The Blues were among the worst teams in the league as the new year dawned, but are 55-18-11 in regular season play (71-28-11 including playoffs) in the past 12 months after Friday’s 5-4 overtime victory in Winnipeg.
Forward David Perron netted the game-winner to extend the Blues’ winning streak to seven games, giving St. Louis its 11th victory in its past 14 games as it prepares to wrap up a home-and-home versus Winnipeg sitting atop the Western Conference standings with 56 points. “We have to get better, but it does give us that confidence to keep playing well,” Blues center Tyler Bozak told reporters after scoring twice in Friday’s victory. “A lot of games have been tight games, so finding ways to win in those is also huge.” The Jets, who fell to St. Louis in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in April, dropped to 2-4-1 in their past seven games and trail the Blues by 11 points in the Central Division standings. “We were never out of it,” Jets forward Kyle Connor told the media after finishing with two goals. “We kept fighting back. It was a good battle.”
TV: 3 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), FS Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE JETS (21-14-3): Connor recorded his second and third goals in the past two games and has four points in his past three contests, giving him 14 points (seven goals) in 11 games this month. Forward Patrik Laine finished with two assists, continuing his strong December in which he has registered 12 points (seven goals) in 11 games, and forward Blake Wheeler tied Friday’s contest with 1:14 left in regulation with his 11th goal of the season. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves in falling to 2-3-1 with a .883 save percentage in his past seven appearances.
ABOUT THE BLUES (25-8-6): Perron netted his sixth game-winning goal of the season (tied for the NHL lead entering Saturday) and his fourth winner in overtime, adding an assist to give him nine points (five assists) during his five-game point streak. Bozak registered his second two-goal game in his past five contests while center Jaden Schwartz registered three assists to extend his point streak to five games (seven assists). Goaltender Jordan Binnington ran his winning streak to five games (.913 save percentage in that span) while stopping 25 of 29 shots.
1. Jets F Mathieu Perreault, sidelined since Dec. 15 with a concussion, wore a non-contact jersey during practice Saturday.
2. The Blues have won seven games in a row for the second time this season, the third time in franchise history they have multiple seven-game win streaks in a single season (2000-01, 2014-15).
3. Winnipeg has scored nine power-play goals in its past nine contests.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Jets 3