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Blues could clinch at least third in Central tonight

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - There's a chance the Blues could know who their first-round playoff opponent will be after tonight's game.

First, the Blues have to beat the Winnipeg Jets (7 p.m. FSMW-Plus, Y98 FM). Then, if the New York Islanders defeat the Nashville Predators in regulation tonight, the Blues would be guaranteed to finish no worse than third place in the Central Division, which means a first-round matchup with the Minnesota Wild.

"It gives you a sense of pride, really, to put yourself in the best spot," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said of the opportunity to clinch at least third place. "That was an important game against Nashville (on Sunday), an emotional game and I think we really built something there. It's a good opportunity to follow it up tonight."

The Blues have collected points in nine straight games (7-0-2), which is a season-high. But extending that streak to 10 games certainly won't be an easy task despite facing a team tonight that has been eliminated from playoff contention.

The Jets come to Scottrade Center with wins in four consecutive games and in seven of their last nine. The streak includes wins against three teams who, if the playoffs started today, would be in: Ottawa, Anaheim and Minnesota.

The Jets have also handled the Blues well this year, winning all four meetings between the clubs - including two at Scottrade Center.

"I look at them as a really good team. It's not too hard to figure out," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said of the Jets. "Whether it's on the backend with (Dustin Byfuglien) and (Jacob) Trouba, or on the front end - you look at the skill they have up there. There are not too many players on their team that you wouldn't like to have on your team. That's a real compliment to them and what they've got going on. They're playing really good hockey right now. They're a little bit loose and they're playing with nothing to lose. Because of that they're a real dangerous team."

"We feel our game is in a much better spot than the last time we played against them," added Pietrangelo. "Both teams are playing well right now and we're trying to put ourselves in a good spot. We feel very confident in the way we're playing right now."

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