Coming into tonight’s matchup, the Winnipeg Jets will be attempting to split their season series against the St Louis Blues. Currently, the Jets own a record of 1-1-1 through their three games against the Blues this season. During their previous meeting last Saturday, Winnipeg was out-shot 40-31 but they were able to defeat St. Loius by a score of 5-2.
Following their 2-1 overtime defeat against the Nashville Predators back on Tuesday, Winnipeg has now lost six of their last seven games. However, the Jets have allowed just a pair of goals in each of their previous three contests. So, Winnipeg will look to replicate their impressive performance from Saturday night on the road in St. Louis later tonight.
1) Nathan Beaulieu Returns After 14-Game Absence
After being activated off the injured reserve on Tuesday, Nathan Beaulieu will be returning to the lineup for the first time in 2020. For the 27-year-old, this will be his first game since Dec. 30. Following Tuesday’s practice, head coach Paul Maurice confirmed that Beaulieu would be returning against the Blues. Although, he failed to mention which player the 6-foot-2 defenseman would be replacing in the lineup.
For Maurice, deciding on who to remove from his blue line may prove to be a very difficult decision. Ideally, the Jets would just send Sami Niku down, but the 23-year-old has been playing extremely well recently. Since both Anthony Bitetto and Luca Sbisa have been key players on Winnipeg’s penalty-killing unit over the past few games, it’ll be tough removing either of them from the lineup as well. Regardless, Maurice will likely announce his decision during the morning skate on Thursday.
2) Too Many Turnovers By Winnipeg
Back on Saturday, the Jets committed a total of 23 giveaways during their 5-2 victory over the Blues. So far this season, turnovers have proven to be a major concern for Winnipeg, as they currently have produced the eleventh-most giveaways (541) among all 31 teams. The Jets are also tied for the fourth-most total giveaways (158) and have recorded the seventh-most giveaways per 60 minutes (11.2) since Jan. 1.
As for St. Louis, their squad is tied for the fifth-highest number of takeaways (109) among all 31 teams since the start of January. While the Blues weren’t able to capitalize on any of the Jets’ turnovers until the third period on Saturday, the same can’t be expected during tonight’s showdown. If Winnipeg is sloppy with their possession of the puck once again, they may be unable to dominate St. Louis on the scoreboard during their series finale.
3) Big Performance From Mark Scheifele
Over his nine seasons in the NHL, Mark Scheifele has produced ten goals and 27 points during his 28 career games against the Blues. Throughout his career, the 26-year-old center has only scored more goals (16) against the Dallas Stars. Through three games against St. Louis this season, Scheifele has created a trio of assists along with nine shots on goal.
However, the right-hander has been held goalless through those three games against the Blues. In fact, Scheifele hasn’t found the back of the net in each of his last five games. But, his dry streak is likely to end later tonight at the Enterprise Center. Based on his career results against St. Louis, Scheifele could potentially light the lamp multiple times during tonight’s game.
Just like each of their previous meetings during this season, tonight’s matchup will become another high scoring affair. During the opening 20 minutes, Scheifele will open the scoring for Winnipeg with his 24th goal of the season. Before the end of the second, Patrik Laine will extend the Jets’ lead to 3-1. However, the Blues will score a pair of goals within the first five minutes of the third period.
Thankfully for Winnipeg, Scheifele will score the game-winner with just three minutes left in the third. Jets win 4-3 over the Blues.