The Winnipeg Jets continued their recent domination of the St. Louis Blues Thursday night, riding an early lead and great goaltending to a 5-2 win in Missouri.
Pierre-Luc Dubois had a three point effort as the Jets beat the Blues for the fifth straight time to start a short two-game road trip.
The Jets had a three-goal lead in the second period, and the Blues dominated the final frame, outshooting the Jets 12-5, but Winnipeg still managed to win their third consecutive game, and sixth out of their last seven matches overall.
“The more goals you can get ahead the better,” Dubois laughed. “I felt like at times we were kinda just trying to survive out there. That’s when they got the momentum back, and shift after shift they’re coming at you.
“At times we were dominating, at times they were dominating, that’s just how hockey is. A perfect world – you play 60 full minutes. From the puck drop to the end you have control, but we all know that most of the time that’s not the case.”
Dubois now has at least a point in seven straight games and has 12 points over that stretch.
“The last couple games has been the best he’s played,” said Jets head coach Rick Bowness. “It really has. He’s strong on the puck, he’s been good defensively, he’s been great on the power play, his line has been outstanding for us. This is the best I’ve seen him play.”
Kyle Connor is almost as hot with three goals in his last two games, and not to be outdone Mark Scheifele has recorded five points in his last three contests.
The Jets scored five goals on only 20 shots as they were outshot 31-20.
“I give our forwards a lot of credit,” said Bowness. “It was a gutty effort by them. And our defence, were they coming at us absolutely desperate in the third period ? Yep, they were. So give them credit for that. We bent a little bit, but we didn’t break and that’s the most important thing.
“We got a lot of young guys on this team. They got to learn how to handle the pressure of teams ‘A’, coming after us, and ‘B’ just being in these tight games.”
With two assists, Scheifele recorded his 600th career point.
Jets forward Saku Maenalanen appeared to injure his shoulder early in the first period. He left the game and did not return.
“He’s been outstanding for us,” Bowness said. “So, that’s a big hole.”
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Dubois opened the scoring late in the first after Scheifele found him in front of the net, extending Dubois’ team-leading point streak.
Winnipeg wasted no time extending the lead in the second period as Connor beat Thomas Greiss just 27 seconds into the middle frame to make it 2-0.
Blake Wheeler made it 3-0 on the power play just a few minutes later as the Jets seemed poised to run away with it.
Robert Thomas got the Blues on the board late in the second to give his team a pulse as St. Louis started to turn the shot clock in their favour.
The pivotal moment came about seven minutes into the third. Connor Hellebuyck made a string of saves as the Blues started to mount a charge, but found himself out of position as Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly had the puck behind the net.
St. Louis could not convert, and just moments later Dubois scored his second of the game from a bad angle on a shot that Greiss absolutely needed to stop.
Josh Leivo made it 4-2 just past the halfway point of the period, but that’s as close as the Blues would get.
With just under two minutes to go, Cole Perfetti scored into the empty net to put a bow on the win, Winnipeg’s fifth straight over the Blues and seventh win in their last eight meetings.
The Jets managed just ten shots in the final two periods but their goaltending was far superior to that of the Blues. Hellebuyck made 29 saves, while Greiss allowed four goals while making only 15 stops.
Jets defenceman Logan Stanley returned to the lineup after missing 18 games over the past six plus weeks with a fracture in his foot. Jansen Harkins was also back in uniform as Sam Gagner and Dylan Samberg were both scratched.
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The Dallas Stars also won on Thursday to leave them tied with the Jets atop the Central Division but Winnipeg has two games in hand.
The Jets will try to get their first four-game win streak Friday night when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks. Pregame coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. on 680 CJOB with puck drop just after 7:30.
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