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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:02 am 
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The term "must win" stops being a cliche for the Winnipeg Jets Friday night.

The Jets trail the St. Louis Blues by five points for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference and have played two more games than their Central Division rivals, so a Winnipeg loss to the Blues would not officially eliminate the Jets from the playoff race, but it would make it nearly impossible for them to qualify for the postseason.

Seven points back with 17 games to go? Good luck.

Both teams were active prior to the trade deadline on Wednesday but there's no question the Blues made the bigger move, trading defenseman and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Kevin Shattenkirk and goalie Pheonix Copley to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2017, forward Zach Sanford, a conditional 2019 draft pick and minor league forward Brad Malone.

The Jets, meanwhile, shipped winger Drew Stafford, whose contract was also set to expire at the end of this season, to the Boston Bruins for a conditional 2018 sixth-round pick.

The Jets are getting reinforcements of a different kind, however, as they will welcome defenseman Jacob Trouba back after a two-game suspension for an illegal hit on Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone. The Jets lost both games he was in the pressbox -- 5-4 to Toronto in overtime right before their bye week and 6-5 to Minnesota coming out of it.

Forwards Andrew Copp (upper-body) and Marko Dano (lower-body) are both expected to be in the lineup against St. Louis, too.

"Every team has kind of run into some trouble coming off the break," Trouba said after practice Thursday. "That all goes out the window. This is a pretty big game coming up here and it's one we need."

It's also possible goalie Ondrej Pavelec could return to the net for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury last month. Neither Connor Hellebuyck nor Michael Hutchinson was stellar in his absence.

The Blues come to town on the heels of a 2-1 loss at home to the Edmonton Oilers and haven't scored more than two goals in any of their past four games, all losses. To give you an indication of the Blues' lack of offensive punch, they had a power play for 3:11 and had eight shots on goal in that span. In the nearly 37 minutes that remained, they had just eight more shots. In the four losses, they have managed just a trio of even-strength goals.

"We've got to find a way to score more goals," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We've got find a way to get around the net, take more shots. It's been a theme for a while. We've got to do more of the little things. I think we can be a little more aggressive. We're sitting back a little more than we need to, especially in our own end. That, (along) with not scoring, is not really a good recipe."
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The Blues will visit the Jets Friday for the first game of a three-game road trip. St. Louis is winless against Winnipeg this season, including a 5-3 loss on Jan. 31 in St. Louis most recently. The Blues have felt right at home at MTS Centre since the Jets were reborn, going 6-1-2 in their nine all-time visits. The power play has been strong in their recent trips to Manitoba, scoring on four of their last 13 chances over their last three trips. Following Friday's game, the Blues will visit the Colorado Avalanche before a date with the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Wild next Tuesday.

What to Watch

Ryan Reaves will experience a pretty cool milestone in his hometown tonight. He will dress in his 400th career game, becoming the 34th player to reach that plateau with the Blues. This will be Reaves' ninth career outing at MTS Centre. In his previous eight games there, he's logged a goal and an assist along with four penalty minutes. Fans will also want to keep an eye on recently acquired forward Zach Sanford and recently-recalled defenseman Jordan Schmaltz. Sanford could make his Blues debut and Schmaltz could make his NHL debut.

Milestones

David Perron - 4 shy of 100 goals as a Blue / 8 shy of 500 career PIM
Paul Stastny - 5 shy of 200 games as a Blue
Kyle Brodziak - 4 shy of 400 career PIM
Carl Gunnarsson - 9 shy of 100 career assists
Jori Lehtera - 3 shy of 100 career points
Alexander Steen - 6 shy of 300 points as a Blue / 6 shy of 400 career PIM / 10 shy of 300 PIM as a Blue
Jaden Schwartz - 5 shy of 200 career points / 2 shy of 300 career games
Jay Bouwmeester - 8 shy of 100 PIM as a Blue
Robert Bortuzzo - 10 shy of 200 career games

Quick Hits

Vladimir Tarasenko has five goals and five assists over his last seven games against Winnipeg
Jake Allen is unbeaten in two career starts at MTS Centre (2-0-0, 2.50 GAA, .924 SV%)
Patrik Berglund shared second overall with five goals on the road in February
The game marks a stretch that sees the Blues play 10 of 15 March games away from Scottrade Center


This day in history:
1920 Montreal Canadiens score NHL record 16 goals beating Quebec Bulldogs
1968 Jean Beliveau (MTL) becomes 2nd NHLer to score 1,000 pt
1991 Hull reaches 70 goal mark in 4-4 tie with Flyers becoming 3rd player to score 70 in back-to-back seasons
1992 Brett Hull became 2nd Blues player to reach 100 points in 3 straight seasons scoring his 8th hat trick of season in 5-3 win over Canucks
1992 Gretzky extends his own NHL record for consecutive 100-point seasons (13) with an assist in Los Angeles Kings 4-1 win against Flyers
2000 Pavol Demitra scored his 100th career goal in 5-2 win over Thrashers

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:04 am 
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And from STL Today
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Sanford played left wing on a line with Patrik Berglund and Magnus Paajarvi and seems a strong candidate to play on Friday in Manitoba. Schmaltz was the extra defenseman and is less likely to play.


So the Blues trade for this kid, because they purportedly need to shore up the C position, and immediately start him off making the exact same mistake the Capitals did - playing him at LW on a bottom 2 line. BRILLIANT!!!!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:09 am 
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theohall wrote:
And from STL Today
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Sanford played left wing on a line with Patrik Berglund and Magnus Paajarvi and seems a strong candidate to play on Friday in Manitoba. Schmaltz was the extra defenseman and is less likely to play.


So the Blues trade for this kid, because they purportedly need to shore up the C position, and immediately start him off making the exact same mistake the Capitals did - playing him at LW on a bottom 2 line. BRILLIANT!!!!!!


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"You can see his size, and with that range, with that's reach," Yeo said. "But I guess the thing that impressed me the most today was his puck work. He's got good hands, some puck control, an ability to protect the puck, and an ability to make some plays in tight."


All those reasons listed are reasons to play him at C where those skills can best be used, instead of the limited use from playing on a wing.

On top of that, every prospect report I could find said he makes teammates on his line better. The catch - all of those reports are in reference to his playing C.

When the hell is the management and coaching staff of this team actually going to let a kid play in the position he's been evaluated to play, instead of sticking him in a position at which he already didn't produce at the NHL level??

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:53 am 
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Both these teams should be hungry for a win. Who wants it more?

Two points, please. :letsgoblues:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:42 pm 
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This team sucks.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:34 pm 
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How many offensive zone faceoffs has Lehtera lost tonight? But hell yeah keep skating him out there. Maybe if I keep bashing myself in the head with this hammer I'll discover the cure to cancer.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:48 pm 
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Yet another very disappointing game. At least I'm a Winnipegger, and The Jets are my 2nd favourite team. But THEY also don't look like a lock for the playoffs. :cry:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:26 pm 
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Another total shit show. Does anyone care? Are they now trying to get rid of Yeo? At this point I'm not sure they can win another game this year. Total lack of effort.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:52 am 
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Hmmm...

Over reliance on the stretch pass...
Repeatedly playing the STL line which is now pointless in 4 straight games...
Questionable effort for a full 60...
Centers not producing so the Blues will just keep changing their wingers with Center prospects, instead...

Sounds just like this team under Hitchcock, eh?

There is one difference.... They are scoring even less now per game since Yeo took over... 2.46 G/Gm Holy cow, Yeo's average g/gm regardless of talent as a HC before taking over the Blues is 2.49 G/Gm.
:aaaa:
It was 2.89 G/Gm with Hitchcock in charge this season

And it's not like the Jets have been playing good defensively lately. The had allowed 11 goals in their last 2 games.

Not looking forward to the Blues playing the Wild on Tuesday. Fully expect the Blues to get crushed with the way the coaching and management of this team continues to rely on players and player combinations which haven't really worked well all season.

They should beat the Avs on Sunday, though. :goblues:

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