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Beyak: Jets lose another tight one to the Blues

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Dennis Beyak, TSN.ca
2/8/2014 10:22:55 PM
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There are some losses where the effort cannot be questioned and this game was one of those.

At the Olympic break the Blues lead the Central Division, while the Jets are right in the thick of the playoff race for the final spot in the Western Conference. All four games between these two teams have been decided by one goal, two via shootout. The Jets finish the four game road trip at 2-1-1, for five of a possible eight points.

The Blues opened the scoring with Brenden Morrow getting his 10th of the year, with Mark Scheifele on a nice down low pass from Devin Setoguchi tying things up. Zach Bogosian also drew an assist on the goal, Scheifele's 12th of the year. The Blues regained the lead on a favourable bounce, off the referee's skate and onto the stick of Morrow who set up Derek Roy for his first in 25 games. Shots in the first were 8-7 for the Jets.

Mid-way through the second, Scheifele drove the net and scored on a back-hand to tie the game, Blake Wheeler and Chris Thorburn drew assists. It gives Scheifele 13 on the year and his second two-goal game of the year. The goal came after the Jets killed off a double minor to Olli Jokinen, with Thorburn getting called during the penalty kill, sending the Blues onto a minute long five-on-three. A successful penalty kill kept the Jets perfect this year when down two men. They are nine-for-nine in just under 11 minutes of time spend down two men. Shots in the second were 11-6 Jets.

A goal in the first minute of the third by Jaden Schwartz put the Blues back in front, but on their fifth power play of the game, a goal by Dustin Byfuglien tied the game for the Jets. Wheeler carried the puck into the Blues zone, dropped it for Byfuglien and his blast went off a body in front and in. Tobias Enstrom also assisted on the goal. Byfuglien has six goals and 14 assists on the Jets' 28 power play goals. The Jets had a great chance to get the go ahead goal late in the third, only to have Brian Elliot make a great save off Scheifele. Shots in the third favoured St. Louis 10-9 as the game headed to overtime.

Three shots by each team in overtime did not decide a winner, sending the game to a shootout, with T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko scoring for the Blues, while neither Bryan Little nor Andrew Ladd could beat Brian Elliot.

With the two-point game, Wheeler goes into the Olympic break leading the Jets in scoring with 48 points, including a team-leading 22 goals. He is one point ahead of Little, Byfuglien third at 43. Byfuglien finished the day with eight shots on goal to lead the team, while Little took 29 face-offs, winning 19. On the night the Jets penalty kill, second best in the NHL on the road, was the story, going eight-for-eight, including a minute of being down two men. Big minutes in the game for Bogosian at 28:35, Enstrom 27:40 and Jacob Trouba 25:31.

“We played a hell of a game,” stated Coach Paul Maurice post-game. “We were down three times, battled back, big power play goal, fantastic penalty kill. They a few lucky hops. [It was a] solid game, I'm real happy with it.

“I don't put any stock in the shootout deciding how we played, we played a great game. We have to come back after the break with the same confidence that we've earned. I'm proud of the way we played.”

The Jets will return from the break and start workouts on Feb. 19, with the outdoor practice at the Forks scheduled for the 23rd. Next game action is the 27th, home against Phoenix (TSN Jets, TSN 1290). They will finish with 22 games in 44 days, 15 vs. the Western Conference.

Devin Setoguchi (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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