Jets meet Blues, look to rebound from shutout
The Winnipeg Jets will look to jump-start their offense Tuesday night when they host the St. Louis Blues.
After scoring four or more goals six times in their first 10 games, the Jets suffered a 2-0 shutout to the New York Islanders on Saturday.
“Our two best chances don’t go for us, and then we get an awful lot blocked, but that’s a big part of what they do and how they play,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “We spent enough time in their end, didn’t manufacture enough second chances. We had possession, but we didn’t get enough chaos caused.
“You need to be able to really skate and drive in the offensive zone, and I thought we were a little short on that tonight.”
Both teams have featured impressive balance on their top three forward lines when healthy — but maintaining full strength has been a challenge.
Maurice moved grinder Adam Lowry up with top center Mark Scheifele (who has played just five games this season) and winger Blake Wheeler (six).
Pierre Luc-Dubois has teamed with Kyle Connor and prospect Evgeny Svechnikov while Andrew Copp flourished with Paul Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers.
But both Scheifele (leg) and Stastny (foot) exited Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the New York Islanders with injuries. Neither practiced Monday, but neither has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game.
The Blues got center Ryan O’Reilly back from COVID-19 protocol Sunday, and coach Craig Berube put him back with David Perron and Brandon Saad on the top line.
Robert Thomas centered Vladimir Tarasenko and Jordan Kyrou while Ivan Barbashev played between Pavel Buchnevich and Klim Kostin.
Saad scored the only Blues goal Sunday in a 4-1 loss to the Ducks in Anaheim. He has three goals in three games since coming off the COVID list.
Kostin was dangerous on the third line, but he hit the post with one shot and the crossbar with another.
“It really boils down to just bearing down on your chances,” Berube said. “You gotta capitalize on those, and we didn’t do that. It’s a 1-1 game going into the third.”
Berube wasn’t pleased with his team’s offensive tempo.
“We played too slow tonight,” he said. “And we didn’t want to play below the goal line in the offensive zone enough for me.”
The Blues are still missing defensemen Torey Krug and Niko Mikkola along with goaltender Ville Husso and winger Kyle Clifford due to COVID-19. Forward Brayden Schenn (upper-body injury) is expected to miss significant time while forward Oskar Sundqvist (knee surgery) is expected back soon.
“I feel for (Schenn),” Berube said. “He’s one of our guys that fights through anything, whether it’s injuries or things like that. He’s a battler. It’s unfortunate that we lost him here. So hopefully he’s back sooner than later, but it’s a tough loss.”
Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (illness) sat out Saturday’s game, but he returned to practice Monday and could start Tuesday. Jordan Binnington likely will start again for the Blues.
–Field Level Media