Blues scrap their way to a 5-4 finish over Winnipeg
ST. LOUIS — Barret Jackman was not thinking top shelf when he got the puck at center ice with just over a minute to play.
But his floating shot somehow eluded Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec and ended up past the goal line with 1:03 left to give the St. Louis Blues a 5-4 win over the Jets on Tuesday night.
"I was just trying to get the puck in and give our forwards an opportunity," Jackman said. "Their goalie kind of lost track of it. We’ll take it anyway we can."
The goal was Jackman’s second on the season and first in 36 games.
After his team squandered a three-goal, third-period lead, Jackman bailed the Blues out when he got control of the puck along the left boards in the neutral zone off a faceoff and shot it towards Pavelec.
"When I threw it in there, I thought he was just kind of surveying the play and was just going to grab it and flip (it) to the side," Jackman said. "It just kind of floated over the glove. He obviously didn’t get a good look at it."
That was the only goal that Pavelec allowed in 20 shots faced. He came on in relief in the second period when the Blues scored four goals on four straight shots against Jets rookie goalie Michael Hutchinson.
"I’ve never really screamed for a goal that we got and that was a quick girlie high-pitch scream I had," Blues goalie Brian Elliott said. "Not pretty, but we’ll take the two points and move on, that’s for sure."
Linemates Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera all had a goal and an assist for the Blues.
Steve Ott also scored and Elliott made 12 saves for St. Louis, which has beaten Winnipeg eight straight times. The Blues (42-19-5, 89 points) moved to within two points of first-place Nashville in the Central Division.
Andrew Ladd had a goal and an assist for Winnipeg. Lee Stempniak, Blake Wheeler and Michael Frolik also scored for the Jets. The goal extended Frolik’s scoring streak to seven games.
Winnipeg played without leading scorer Bryan Little, who sat out his second consecutive game with an undisclosed injury.
St. Louis had what appeared to be a comfortable 4-1 lead going into the third period, but Ladd scored a power-play goal at 1:34 and Stempniak beat Elliott with a high wrist shot from the right circle 11 seconds later to make it a one-score game.
Wheeler then tied it at 14:32 at 4-4 with a short-handed goal.
"Great comeback and an unfortunate end," Wheeler said. "That’s hockey, man.
"That’s a tough goal and you have to feel bad for him (Pavelec). That’s so hard coming into the middle of the game. You’re stone cold. He made some big saves to give us a chance to tie the game."
After Frolik beat Elliott with a harmless looking shot from the high slot that slipped through the five hole 8:50 into the contest, the Blues scored the next four – on four shots.
Schwartz tied the game with a power-play goal at 14:20 of the first period and Tarasenko gave the Blues the lead when he scored 31 seconds into the second period. Ott then scored at 10:08 of the second period, and when Lehtera beat Hutchinson from right in front off a pretty pass from Schwartz 1:01 later, Hutchinson took a seat.
NOTES: The Blues have surrendered the first goal in their last nine home games. … Frolik has goals in three straight games. … The Jets have lost eight of their last nine road games. … Lehtera’s goal was his first since Jan. 8 (19 games).