Rolling Blues pay visit to Winnipeg

( – The St. Louis Blues will try to keep their shutout
streak going and extend their lead atop the Central Division when they visit
the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

The Blues haven’t allowed a goal through the first two tilts of a six-game
road trip and enter Thursday with a shutout streak of 126 minutes, 16 seconds.
Jake Allen made 28 saves in Sunday’s 3-0 win in Dallas and Brian Elliott
stopped 25 shots to help St. Louis down the Calgary Flames, 4-0, on Tuesday.

Elliott’s shutout was his fifth of the season and 21st since joining the Blues
after the 2010-11 season. Tuesday’s white-washing allowed Elliott to pass
former teammate Jaroslav Halak for the club’s all-time record.

Elliott turned aside six shots during the first period, 11 in the middle
stanza and eight more in the third for his 30th career shutout.

“Our goaltending has really been the story for the last 10 days or so,” said
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. “These guys have given us a chance to win every

Alexander Steen scored twice and David Backes posted a goal and two assists.
Jori Lehtera also scored and T.J. Oshie supplied two assists for the Blues,
who have won three straight on the road to push their away record to 21-11-3.

The club has won five of six overall and holds a one-point lead over Nashville
for the top spot in the division. The Predators, who have played two more
games than St. Louis, are idle on Thursday.

It’s unclear if Allen or Elliott will get the start tonight.

The Blues will shoot for an eighth straight win over the Jets. They are 3-0 in
the 2014-15 season series and have claimed three in a row in Winnipeg.

The Jets also are seeking a third straight victory this evening. After beating
Tampa Bay on the road Saturday, the club notched a 5-2 victory over San Jose
on Tuesday to begin a three-game homestand.

The Sharks outshot the Jets by a 40-22 margin, but Winnipeg jumped out to a
3-0 lead in the opening period and never let San Jose back in the contest.

Blake Wheeler had two goals and an assist to lead the way on Tuesday. Adam
Lowry, Mark Scheifele and Andrew Ladd all scored in the first-period barrage,
which chased Sharks netminder Antti Niemi from the game.

Scheifele added two assists and Drew Stafford also had a pair of helpers in
the rout. Ondrej Pavelec did his part as well by coming up with 38 saves.

The Jets are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since relocating
from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season and a strong homestand would
certainly help in that quest. Winnipeg currently holds the last wild card spot
in the West with 82 points, one more than Calgary.

“We realize where we’re at and the excitement around our team right now,”
Wheeler said after Tuesday’s big win. “We were excited to get back in front of
our home fans again. They gave us an extra push tonight.”

Winnipeg, which will cap the stay at MTS Centre on Saturday versus Washington,
is 18-11-5 at home this season.

On the injury front, defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (upper body) and forward
Bryan Little (lower body) have missed the last five games but both players
practiced Wednesday. Byfuglien could be back tonight, while Little is
targeting Saturday’s game against the Capitals as a return date.