NHL

Beyak: Jets on wrong end of scrappy contest with Blues

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Dennis Beyak
3/18/2014 9:20:32 AM
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St. Louis Blues 3 Winnipeg Jets 1 (Jets 31-20-9, Road 15-16-3) – The previous four games between these two teams this season were all decided by one goal, and for the most part so was this one. With the win the Blues become the first team to hit the 100 point mark (101) as they upped their record to 20-0-2 in games within the Central Division. This was a physical, feisty affair with 100 penalty minutes handed out at 19:59 of the third. The Jets are now six points behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot, as the Coyotes were 4-3 winners in Los Angeles.

The First period was scoreless as the Jets, playing on back to back nights, put together a very solid 20 minutes, outshooting the Blues 7-6.

St. Louis got the game's first goal early in the second, as Brendan Morrow notched his 11th of the year. The Jets managed only five shots on goal in the second.

The Jets tied the game early in the third. With the teams playing four on four, Evander Kane set up Eric O'Dell on a two on one. O'Dell went to his backhand to score his third. Zach Bogosian also drew an assist. In the back half of the period Kane was called for slashing giving the Blues their second power play of the game. David Backes was the recipient of a fortunate bounce to score his 22nd of the year and give the Blues a 2-1 lead. Mark Stuart blocked a shot, with the puck deflecting to the front of the net and right onto the stick of Backes. With Al Montoya on the bench for an extra attacker, Backes and Jacob Trouba were chasing a puck into the Jets zone, there was some contact between the two, Backes went to the ice and the officials ruled it an automatic goal feeling Trouba had tripped Backes. As time was running out a number all the players on the ice ended up in the corner in the Blues zone, gloves off and fists flying as emotions from this physical game hit the boiling point. The Blues again kept the Jets to just five shots on goal making the final tally 25-17. 3-1 was the final. The Blues did score another with under a second to go, again with Montoya on the bench, but it was eventually ruled play had been whistled down because of the melee in the Jets zone.

The power play goal by Backes was the first given up by the Jets in 40 shorthanded road situations. The last time on the road the Jets gave up a power play goal was January 21st in Anaheim. They then went eight road games where the PK was perfect. The Jets outhit the Blues 40-26, with Stuart leading the way with nine. He also led the way in blocked shots with seven. Andrew Ladd led the way in shots on goal with five. Jacob Trouba led in ice time at 24:38. Blake Wheeler led the penalty count with 15 PIM. Jets are now 1-6-1 in the second game of back to backs, as the game ended three in four nights, while the game Wednesday vs Colorado (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) ends a difficult stretch of five games in eight days.

For coach Paul Maurice the Jets got the start they wanted. "We had a really good first, on the road, played the night before."

On the penalty to Kane in the third, "We can't be in the box there. That's the bottom line. That gets called in this league. We have to be responsible for our own play."

On the 3-1 goal, Coach Maurice felt the wrong call was made. That it was incidental skate contact by two players going after the puck.

For the Jets it was the same lineup as it was against Dallas, with a chance that Jim Slater and Ondrej Pavelec will be able to return to the lineup Wednesday.

Vladimir Sobotka  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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