Vladimir Tarasenko Scores Twice, Blues End Jets’ Home Point Streak at 10 Games

Vladimir Tarasenko Scores Twice, Blues End Jets’ Home Point Streak at 10 Games

By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets - St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues’ Jay Bouwmeester (19), Vladimir Tarasenko (91), Paul Stastny (26) and Alexander Steen (20) celebrate Tarasenko goal against Bryan Little (18) and the Winnipeg Jets during third period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday, February 9, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG – Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice bluntly assessed his team’s overall performance after a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues at home on Friday.

“We were horseshit tonight. That’s a technical term for our game,” he said.

“Nobody is in a good mood and you’re angry with it. You don’t like to get beat like that. We got beat in St. Louis and played one hell of a game. We weren’t any good tonight and didn’t deserve to win the game.”

Jake Allen wanted to make sure his club turned their luck around against the Jets and did his part with 20 saves. Vladimir Tarasenko struck twice as the Blues used a trio of goals in the second period to help propel them to the win.

“This team has pretty much spanked us around the last three years,” Allen said. “They beat us every time last year. We had a win at the start of the year, but they pretty much spanked us both those games so we needed to show them that we’re not intimidated.”

The Jets went into the game winning seven of the last eight meetings between the NHL Central Division rivals, including all five games last season. In mid-December, the teams split a pair of shutouts.

After defeating Colorado 6-1 Thursday, the Blues (34-20-3) mounted a 3-0 lead against the Jets.

Tarasenko, Patrik Berglund and Alexander Steen scored in a span of seven minutes and 21 seconds. Tarasenko added his 23rd goal of the season in the third period after Winnipeg had closed the gap to 3-2. Brayden Schwartz scored shorthanded into an empty net and also had an assist.

Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine scored for the Jets (32-14-9), who saw an eight-game point streak (6-0-2) halted. The loss also ended Winnipeg’s 10-game point streak (9-0-1) at home.

Connor Hellebuyck made 22 saves for the Jets, who were playing their fifth game of a 10-game homestand (3-1-1).

Winnipeg had Mark Scheifele back on the ice for his first game since a Dec. 27 upper-body injury. The top-line centre had missed 16 games.

“Obviously the main thing is it sucks we lost,” Scheifele said. “Had to shake off a little bit of rust early, but felt better and better as the game went on and got more comfortable.”

Sloppy attempts by a number of Jets to get the puck out from behind their net led to the first goal against.

St. Louis forward Brayden Schenn ended up getting the puck in the corner and passed it out to Tarasenko in the circle and he fired a high shot past Hellebuyck’s blocker side at 4:18. It was Tarasenko’s first goal in seven games.

Berglund redirected in a shot by defenceman Robert Bortuzzo at 10:13, then 86 seconds later Steen one-timed a rebound that went by Hellebuyck at 11:39 to make it 3-0.

Connor got the Jets on the board with 2:27 left in the period when his one-timer from the slot went off Blues defenceman Vince Dunn and past Allen for his 18th goal.

The Blues’ record when leading after two periods this season climbed to 26-0-1.

The Jets had a pair of power plays midway through the period and Laine made good on the second one, blasting a high rocket past Allen at 11:39, but Tarasenko added his second of the game just over a minute later to pad the lead.

“(Laine) shoots the puck harder than anyone in the league,” Allen said. “I’d put him up there against anyone. It’s not even close.

“(His shot) was sort of through a few bodies so I didn’t really get a good pick up on it, but still he’s got the laser.”

Winnipeg hosts the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon. St. Louis returns home to take on Pittsburgh the same day.

CP - The Canadian Press

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