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Jets complete trip with tough test against Blues

by Brian Hunter

JETS (28-26-5) at BLUES (38-12-6)


Last 10: Winnipeg 7-3-0; St. Louis 6-3-1

Season series: This is the fourth of five games between the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues. Each of the first three was decided by a single goal. Olli Jokinen scored in the shootout to lift the Jets to a 4-3 win on Oct. 18 before the Blues responded with a pair of victories, Alexander Steen and Kevin Shattenkirk being credited with the game-winning goals. Steen has four goals against the Jets this season.

Big story: The Blues, who have the best goal differential in the NHL at plus-60, continue their run at the Presidents' Trophy in the final game before the Olympic break. The Jets resume their chase of the second wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.

Team Scope:

Jets: A four-game road trip comes to a close for Winnipeg, which won the first two by 2-1 scores and held that same lead entering the third period Thursday against the Washington Capitals. However, a three-goal rally by the Capitals dealt the Jets a 4-2 loss, and an important two points that would have drawn them even with the Vancouver Canucks went by the board.

It was just the third loss in 12 games since Paul Maurice took over as coach. The Jets haven't lost consecutive games under him and don't want to start now.

"We have to take what we can from this game and finish strong before the break," defenseman Zach Bogosian said in the Winnipeg Free Press. "We obviously don't have anything to save it for so we've just got to give an all-out effort in St. Louis. They're a good team and it will be a good challenge for us."

Blues: Pending the result of the Chicago Blackhawks' game at the Phoenix Coyotes late Friday, it's possible St. Louis could be playing for first in the Central Division. Either way, the Blues will be shooting for their 22nd home win, which would tie for most in the West and trail only the Pittsburgh Penguins for the League lead. After forward Brenden Morrow played in his 900th NHL game Thursday, defenseman Barret Jackman is set to play in his 700th on Saturday. Brian Elliott is scheduled to start in goal.

The Blues come off a 3-2 overtime win against the Boston Bruins in a potential Stanley Cup Final preview. After allowing a third-period lead to to slip away for the third game in a row, T.J. Oshie scored unassisted 3:29 into overtime for the win.

"We don't want to make a habit of this," Oshie said of allowing leads to slip away. "We work hard to get the lead and we've got to hold it, especially in our home barn."

Who's hot: Jets captain Andrew Ladd has one goal and four assists during a four-game point streak. … Blues forward Jaden Schwartz has two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak. Oshie has goals in consecutive games.

Injury report: Winnipeg defenseman Grant Clitsome (back) and forwards Evander Kane (hand), Matt Halischuk (forearm) and Jim Slater (sports hernia) are on injured reserve. … St. Louis forward Vladimir Tarasenko (flu-like symptoms) was out of the lineup Thursday but practiced Friday and expects to play against the Jets. Forward Vladimir Sobotka (leg) is on injured reserve.

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