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GAME DAY: Jets open divisional road trip in St. Louis

7:00pm CT - TV: TSN3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MClinton007 / WinnipegJets.com

Video: JetsTV Road Report

ST. LOUIS, MO - The Winnipeg Jets return from the three-day NHL All-Star break with an important three-game road trip, all against Central Division opponents.

The first one goes tonight at Scottrade Center against the St. Louis Blues, who hold down the top wildcard spot in the Western Conference, three points up on the Jets.

"The real chase is on now. It's a faster, stronger, tougher, more physical game ramping up toward the playoffs," said Jacob Trouba. "You have to ramp up with it."

The Jets (23-25-4) have won both games against St. Louis this season, including a 5-3 win back on Jan. 21 at MTS Centre. Overall, the Jets are 11-4-1 against their own division.

Video: PREGAME | Jacob Trouba

"We always know we're in for a dog fight every time we play a Central team," Trouba said. "Just from playing against them the last couple years, maybe we're more familiar with some of them. We like the way we play against the Central. We have to find some consistency to that.

"These are the games you've got to love to play in as a player."

Ondrej Pavelec made 34 saves in that win over the Blues 10 days ago. Since being recalled from the Manitoba Moose, Pavelec is 2-2-0 with a .894 save percentage. Head coach Paul Maurice said following practice yesterday that Pavelec will start tonight against St. Louis, citing the 29-year-old's .928 career save percentage against the Blues as one of the reasons.

Jake Allen will start for St. Louis, who lost four of five games going into the All-Star break, giving up 23 goals in those losses. Allen is 17-12-3 this season, but his last win came back on Jan. 2.

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

The Blues (24-20-5) also moved Ryan Reaves to the third line with Robby Fabbri and Patrick Berglund, due to Kyle Brodziak being out five weeks with a right ankle injury.

Reaves has 114 hits to go along with his seven points in 47 games this season, but Paul Maurice expects that kind of physicality any time the Jets and Blues face off, especially with valuable points on the line, and the log jam of six teams within three points of the two wildcard spots.

"You have 30 games left in your season. That's an opportunity for any of these teams," said Maurice. "I think eventually getting healthy here, we'll have banged out 30 road games by the end of this trip, that we'd be in pretty good shape."

Video: PREGAME | Patrik Laine

Maurice often says the pace and intensity picks up on the ice at certain points of the season. The first comes after Christmas. The second comes right after the All-Star break.

"The implications after the All-Star break are the same for most teams. It's the playoff push now and head-to-head are important," he said. "You can feel it on the ice, you can feel it in the games."

Puck drop is 7 pm CT on TSN 3 and TSN 1290.

LATE HITS:

Blake Wheeler didn't take the morning skate, but Maurice says the captain is good to go for tonight. Mathieu Perreault skated in Wheeler's spot alongside Mark Scheifele and Andrew Copp. Perreault will not play tonight, but Maurice indicated the forward could be an option for Thursday night in Dallas.

- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

Video: PREGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers

JETS GAME NOTES

Tonight's Game

After last weekend's all-star break, the Winnipeg Jets resume a four-game road trip tonight against the St. Louis Blues…The Jets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 on Thursday night to end a two-game losing streak…Bryan Little scored the game-winning goal with 3:31 left in the third period against the Blackhawks…The Blues lost four of their five games before the all-star break…The Jets play the Dallas Stars on Thursday and Colorado Avalanche on Saturday to conclude the road trip.

Central Success

Despite an overall record below .500, the Jets are 11-4-1 against Central Division teams this season, including 5-4-1 on the road…The Jets have won four in a row on the road against the Central Division…tonight is second of six straight games the Jets against Central Division teams and leads into the month of February when Winnipeg plays seven of 11 games within the Central Division…Overall, the Jets have won six straight games against Central Division teams.

Lots of Chances, Lots of Goals

The Jets have scored the second most goals in the NHL in January with 47, but have also given up the most goals in January with 44…Winnipeg is averaging 3.6 goals per game in January, compared to 2.8 goals per game for the entire season…The Jets have taken 423 shots in January, which is tied for second in the NHL, but have also given up 425 shots, which is the most in the NHL this month.

Special Teams Notes

- The Jets have played 33:19 more on the power play than on the penalty kill at home this season, but have played 46:32 more on the penalty kill than on the power play on the road.
- The Jets have been shorthanded 64 times in the third period this season, which is tied for the most in the league.
- Winnipeg is 4-for-22 (18.2%) on the power play in their last five games.
- The Jets are 33-for-41 (80.5%) on the penalty kill in their last 11 games.
- The Jets have allowed one power play goal in eight of their last nine games.

Team Quick Hits

- A win tonight gives the Jets (6-6-1) a record above .500 in January…Since the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011, the Jets have been above .500 in January four of the previous five years.
- With 47 goals scored this month, the Jets are three goals shy of establishing a franchise record for most goals in January…The team scored 49 goals in January of 2003 and 2006 when the franchise was in Atlanta.

Copp Out and About

Andrew Copp's goal against Chicago on Thursday was his eighth of the year, which bests the seven goals he scored as a rookie last season…Copp has goals in three consecutive games and four goals in his last five games…Part of his scoring surge can be credited to playing more than 15 minutes in each of his last three games, which is the first time in his career he's played more than 15 minutes in three consecutive games.

Rookie All-Star

The Jets lone participant in the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, rookie Patrik Laine is on a six-game (3g, 7a) point streak after scoring and adding an assist against the Blackhawks on Thursday…With 40 points (22g, 18a) in 44 games, he leads all NHL rookies in scoring.

Little Lights Up

Bryan Little has six goals in his last five games, including one against Chicago on Thursday…With 13 goals this season, he's four shy of matching the 17 goals he scored last season in 57 games…Little scored a career-high 31 goals in 79 games during the 2008-09 season and is on pace to score 26 goals this season, which would be the second most of his career…Little has 1.5 G/60 this season, which is a career high…He's also currently on a five-game point streak (6g, 3a).

Player Quick Hits

- Blake Wheeler has 19 points (7g, 12a) in his last 20 games and hasn't gone back-to-back games without a point since Dec. 8-11.
- Dustin Byfuglien leads all NHLers with 1,421:31 TOI this season.
               
Jets vs. Blues All-Time Records

Overall: 11-15-5
At Scottrade Center: 5-7-2

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