Preview: Blues seek to right their ship in Winnipeg
After posting a winning record on their longest road trip of the season, the Winnipeg Jets will try to start earning some better results on their own ice.
The Jets will seek to end a three-game home losing streak Tuesday night against a St. Louis Blues team that’s attempting to avoid its fourth defeat in five overall contests.
Winnipeg (14-13-4) won four of six on its trek and finished with a 2-1 overtime victory against Tampa Bay on Saturday. Mark Scheifele scored the winning goal, and Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist.
“It would have been disappointing to go home 3-3,” coach Claude Noel said. “That would have been a tough one.”
The Jets now try to avoid their longest home losing streak of the season. Winnipeg beat St. Louis 4-3 in a shootout Oct. 18 in the only meeting this season at the MTS Centre.
The Jets are facing three straight Central Division opponents on their homestand.
“I think we’re in a good place right now, but we’ve got a big week,” Noel said. “This week could really test us. We’ve got some really good opponents. We’ll see where we stand. … If we can have a good week, it will help our confidence. It will help a lot of things.”
The Blues are 4-0-1 in the last five matchups with the Jets and won 3-2 in the most recent one Oct. 29. St. Louis, though, has cooled off from its 18-3-3 start and season-high five-game win streak.
The Blues (19-6-3) lost the final two of a three-game road trip — their first back-to-back losses away from home this season — and split two games after returning home.
Following a 5-1 rout of the New York Islanders on Thursday, the Blues were beaten 5-2 by Anaheim two days later. They fell behind 3-0 in the first 7:29 and have been outscored 9-1 in the first period in their last four games.
“That’s three times in the last four games that we’ve had slow starts for whatever reason. We’ve got to readjust and get better at that,” forward Jaden Schwartz said. “I think the energy is there in the locker room. We’ve got to put a little more focus on being ready when the puck drops.”
After Jaroslav Halak struggled in Saturday’s loss, the Blues might turn to Brian Elliott, who stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced in relief versus the Ducks.
Elliott, though, also gave up two goals to the Jets in the final seven minutes of regulation Oct. 18 and was outdueled by Ondrej Pavelec in the ensuing seven-round shootout.
St. Louis’ Alexander Steen scored twice in that game and has three of his 20 goals in the two matchups with Winnipeg, tied for his most against any opponent this season.
Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler has six goals and two assists in seven career matchups, and Dustin Byfuglien has one goal and seven assists during a six-game point streak versus the Blues.
The Jets lost a season-high four in a row at home Feb. 7-17, and St. Louis’ longest road losing streak in 2012-13 was three games from Feb. 20-March 5.