ST. LOUIS, MO - The Winnipeg Jets extended their season-long winning streak to five as they used a three-goal, minute-long burst early in the second period to defeat the St. Louis Blues in convincing fashion, 5-2, at Scottrade Center.
Patrik Laine scored twice, while Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Stuart and Mark Scheifele added singles offensively. Michael Hutchinson made 24 saves.
"These guys have been such a good team over the last number of years, and I think they bring out the best in us," Blake Wheeler said. "Coming into a game against St. Louis, we know what kind of a game it's going to be and it's going to be a tough matchup. We've had some pretty close games with them over the years and this year we just got the puck to bounce our way."
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
With the win, the Jets improve to 38-35-7 with only two games left in the season.
"You still live your losses at this time of year and you don't get to enjoy your wins, but we had a focus and a job to do today and we got it done," said Head Coach Paul Maurice.
The Jets had a 3-2 lead entering the third but iced it with a couple of quick ones in the first 10 minutes.
Scheifele's 31st of the year helped the Jets open up a two-goal lead at 4:48 before Laine ripped home his 36th (and second of the night) at 9:02 to make it a 5-2 advantage.
On Scheifele's goal, Blues goalie Jake Allen came up with a ridiculous glove grab off the one-timer, but a lengthy review confirmed it had, indeed, crossed the goal line, despite the 'tender's other worldly reflexes.
Video: WPG@STL: Scheifele beats Allen on rebound attempt
With the goal, Scheifele has now hit 80 points for the first time in his career. Wheeler drew the assist after making a fabulous pass inside the circles.
"It just reaffirms where he's at," Maurice said of Scheifele. "You go back to Bryan Little's injury and he's put up a ton of points, and he's done it consistently. He gets full credit for the 80 because he's played for everybody, but Ehlers and Wheeler have now come back to the form that they found last year and have been pretty dominant."
Added Wheeler: "It's easy to shut it down when you're out of playoff contention, but we have a group of solid guys who still come to the rink every day excited about their job. The most important thing is that we love what we do for a living. We feel fortunate to be able to do this every single day and that's what we're all about. Look, we're not going to raise the Cup this year but hopefully sometime soon down the road we're going to be playing games at this time of year that are really meaningful."
Less than five minutes after Scheifele's goal, the puck popped loose to Laine in the slot and the rookie made no mistake, slinging it past Allen put the game away.
Video: WPG@STL: Laine pads lead with his second of the game
The Jets, who have trailed at one point or another in all five games on this impressive, late-season run, gave up the first goal once again in this one (only 35 seconds in, no less), but they had a great response and were the better team from that point forward.
The Jets outshot the Blues 9-4 in the opening frame before scoring three on five shots in just over a minute to take control early in the second.
Laine got the ball rolling at 1:47, snapping a four-game goal drought with one of the greasiest of his now 36 tallies this year. With Petteri Lindbohm draped all over him in the blue paint, the rookie stabbed home the rebound from a Stuart point shot to make it a 1-1 game.
Then, on a delayed penalty only 14 seconds later, Ehlers took the puck around the net and stuffed home the wraparound to give the Jets their first lead on the Dane's 25th. Stuart rounded out the goal fest with a long shot from the far point that arched high over the goaltender after catching the skate of Blues pivot Kyle Brodziak en route.
"It feels good. I've been playing well in my last few games and just wasn't getting rewarded. Now I'm getting rewarded and it feels good," Laine said.
Video: POSTGAME | Patrik Laine
The Blues got one back on a 2-on-1 at 4:38 as Jori Lehtera finished off a beautiful pass from Ivan Barbashev, but the game settled down soon after.
It didn't start well for the Jets, who were looking to sweep the sweep the season series with a victory in this, the fifth meeting of the season between the two teams. Alex Pietrangelo stepped up and won a battle with Ehlers along the half wall before taking the puck to the middle putting a backhander on goal. The initial try was turned aside, but the D man followed up on his own rebound and jammed it home for his 13th of the year to give the Blues a 1-0 lead on the first shift of the game.
Josh Morrissey came close to tying it in the final 10 seconds of the period, but he hit the crossbar after teeing it up at the left point.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com