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Preview: Jets at Blues

Jake Allen to start in goal for St. Louis; Winnipeg feeling urgency for playoff push

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

JETS (23-25-4) at BLUES (24-20-5)

8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, TSN3, NHL.TV


Jets team scope

The Winnipeg Jets are one of four teams within three points of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference as they open a three-game trip, and five straight against Central Division teams. The Jets are 11-4-1 in their division this season. "The implications after the All-Star break are the same for most teams," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "It's the playoff push now and head-to-head are important. You can feel it on the ice, you can feel it in games. It should be pretty close to playoff intensity tonight." The Jets can feel a sense of urgency. "The real chase is on," defenseman Jacob Trouba said. "... We always know we're in for a dogfight every time we play a Central team. Playing against [the St. Louis Blues] the last couple years, maybe we're more familiar with them. I think we like the game we play against the Central, so we've got to try and find that consistency." Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal.


Blues team scope

Blues goalie Jake Allen will make his first start since Jan. 19. He has been pulled from three straight starts, during which he's allowed 10 goals on 36 shots (.722 save percentage). He stopped all three shots he faced in relief of Carter Hutton during a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. "I'm looking forward to it," Allen said. "It's felt like a decade to be honest. I'm looking forward to it, I'm excited. I think the break did well for a lot of us and we have a really condensed schedule coming up and a lot of big hockey to play." Coach Ken Hitchcock has been rotating his goalies quite a bit but is searching for consistency from the entire lineup. "We've got 33 games left and we're in a playoff race right now," he said. "We're in the playoff hunt. We've punched a ticket where we're still in this thing. To me, it's got to be no memory for everybody. Starting [Tuesday], you are what you are. If you can help us, you get to play, and if you can't, then someone else gets that turn. That's the attitude we've got to have. You can't work on past history with people. Whether it's a player or a goaltender or whatever, whatever you're doing for us immediately is what we have to honor because we've earned the right to still be in this race." The Blues hold the first wild card in the Western Conference, tied with the Calgary Flames with 53 points, and one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks.


Jets projected lineup

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Bryan Little -- Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Shawn Matthias -- Adam Lowry -- Joel Armia

Brandon Tanev -- Nic Petan -- Chris Thorburn

Josh Morrissey -- Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom -- Jacob Trouba

Mark Stuart -- Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Connor Hellebuyck

Scratched: Michael Hutchinson, Julian Melchiori

Injured: Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body), Ben Chiarot (upper body), Drew Stafford (lower body), Mathieu Perreault (upper body)


Blues projected lineup

Alexander Steen -- Paul Stastny -- David Perron

Jaden Schwartz -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri -- Patrik Berglund -- Ryan Reaves

Scottie Upshall -- Ivan Barbashev -- Nail Yakupov

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson -- Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Dmitrij Jaskin

Injured: Kyle Brodziak (foot)


Status report

Wheeler did not take part in the morning skate but Maurice said he will play. Perreault is on the trip and could play at the Dallas Stars on Thursday. ... Gunnarsson returns after being a healthy scratch the past two games and Bortuzzo will sit after playing the past eight games. Stastny sat out the morning skate but will play. Yakupov replaces Jaskin in the lineup.


Who's hot

Little has six goals and three assists during a five-game point streak. Scheifele has three goals and six assists in the past seven games. Trouba has one goal and five assists in the past five games. Byfuglien has six assists in the past five games. ... Schwartz has a goal and five assists the past four games. Steen has three goals and three assists in the past five games.

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