The St. Louis Blues began the season with five straight wins at home, but their 6-7-0 mark over their last 13 games at Scottrade Center raises the level of concern. The Blues look to get back on track Saturday and aim to rebound from last season’s 0-4-1 mark versus the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday when the Central Division rivals begin a home-and-home set in the Gateway City.
A lack of offense has plagued St. Louis, with Patrik Berglund snapping his team’s scoring drought of 114:07 late in the third period in a 3-1 setback to Anaheim on Thursday. “We’ve got to be more desperate at home,” the 29-year-old Swede said. “Today, at least we kept our heads up. But a few small mistakes and they scored on them.” The Jets’ high-octane offense could follow suit, although it failed to get off the ground Thursday as the team fell for the fourth time in five outings (1-3-1) with a 5-1 setback versus Chicago. Nikolaj Ehlers has scored in each of his last four games and has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in his last 12 contests.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CITY (Winnipeg), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE JETS (18-9-5): Winnipeg is in the midst of four straight games versus Central Division foes, and the back-to-back versus the Blues likely will force coach Paul Maurice to split up starts for goaltenders Connor Hellebuyck and Steve Mason. “Weird schedule going back-to-back with the same team, but it reminds me of my good old college days,” the 24-year-old Hellebuyck said. “It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be a grind. You know they’re a good team over there, and you know they’re looking at us saying, ‘They’ve need to get ahead of the curve too.’ I think this weekend is going to be big for us.” Hellebuyck has turned aside 72 of 77 shots to win two of three career encounters with St. Louis while Mason was gouged for five goals in his lone appearances versus the club last season.
ABOUT THE BLUES (21-10-2): NHL Second Star of the Week Jake Allen struggled mightily in a pair of starts versus Winnipeg last season, permitting nine goals on 48 shots for an .813 save percentage. The 27-year-old New Brunswick native has started seven straight contests but could get a reprieve with the club set for a back-to-back as fellow goaltender Carter Hutton was activated from injured reserve. Hutton, 31, has fared well in spelling Allen, posting a 4-2-0 mark with a slim 1.88 goals-against average and .937 save percentage.
1. St. Louis F Kyle Brodziak will skate in his 800th career game on Saturday.
2. The Blues are 5-1-1 against Central Division foes while the Jets own a 5-2-1 mark.
3. St. Louis has thwarted 20 of 21 short-handed situations in December after ranking 27th through the first two months of the season.
PREDICTION: Jets 3, Blues 2