Blues start second half with 5-3 loss to Jets at home
ST. LOUIS — Jacob Trouba’s bad-bounce goal was a big break for the Winnipeg Jets.
Trouba scored in the third on an unusual play, and the Jets beat the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler each had a goal and two assists as Winnipeg improved to 12-4-1 within the Central Division and 3-0 against St. Louis. Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored, and Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves.
“It was a first game back after the All-Star Game with some strange defensive zone coverage as probably for both teams, but we did a pretty good job of letting Pavs see the puck,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “He tracked those seams really well and needed to on a couple of them and cleared them in front of the net pretty well too.”
Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, who lost their fourth straight on home ice. Jake Allen made 19 saves.
Winnipeg opened a 4-2 lead on Trouba’s fourth of the season 3:33 into the third. Trouba initially fanned on the shot but the puck went off of Pietrangelo’s skate and into the net.
“When you play the right way, I think the game rewards you,” Scheifele said. “That’s what we were doing. Trouby played awesome for us all night and he got rewarded with a fluky one and that’s the way she goes.”
Wheeler said the goal was pivotal.
“You don’t want to go into a third up by a goal just planning to hang on,” Wheeler said. “That’s when you get into trouble. You want to keep getting on the puck, staying on our forecheck and if you make them spend some time on their zone, typically they are more worried about trying to tie the game than they are about their zone and we were able to get a pretty good bounce.”
The ricochet on Trouba’s goal was another tough break for Allen, who made his first start since being pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots on Jan. 19. He was replaced in each of his previous three starts, allowing 10 goals on 36 shots during that span.
Allen received sarcastic cheers from the crowd of 19,483 for routine saves throughout the game.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted, but for my sake it felt pretty good,” Allen said. “Two lucky deflections, but it doesn’t matter anymore. We’ve got to find ways to win. I felt solid out there.”
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Steen put St. Louis in front just 3:37 into the game on a shot from the point. It was the first time St. Louis scored the opening goal on home ice since Dec. 15.
Scheifele tied it with 30 seconds left in the first on a give-and-go with Wheeler, and Laine gave the Jets a 2-1 lead 22 seconds into the second period. Laine is on a seven-game point streak, and his 41 points leads all NHL rookies.
“If we get down one, down two, we keep playing our same game,” Scheifele said. “We don’t try to open it up, we don’t try to do anything that’s not in our system.”
After Ehlers scored just seven seconds into Winnipeg’s first power play, Tarasenko responded for the Blues with 52 seconds remaining in the second.
“We make mistakes and we’re paying for them right now,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “On three of their goals we had the puck.”
NOTES: The Blues recalled F Ivan Barbashev from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. … Jets F Mathieu Perreault missed his third straight game after taking a slash from Anaheim’s Corey Perry on Jan. 23.
Jets: Will travel to Dallas on Thursday.
Blues: Will host Toronto on Thursday.