Scheifele scored the lone shootout goal in the fourth round, his first in four career attempts, and the Jets pulled out a 2-1 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday night. The Blues had been 3-0 this season against Winnipeg, all three victories by one goal.
“It was more of a confidence-boosting win than who the win was against,” said Bryan Little, who scored his 16th goal for the Jets. “It’s nice to beat a team like St. Louis but I think we’ll take anything right now.”
The Jets, last in the Central Division, beat the Blues for just the second time in 15 games (2-11-2) overall since moving back to Winnipeg in 2011. Dustin Byfuglien had an assist a day after signing a $38 million, five-year contract extension with the Jets, who are 4-0-1 in their last five on the road, including a victory at Colorado on Saturday.
“Every team has to find its soul,” coach Paul Maurice said. “I think that’s a big deal when you get ‘Buff’ signed. It’s positive and it’s exciting.”
Brian Elliott made 32 saves in regulation and overtime for the Blues, held to one goal or none in five of their last six games. Colton Parayko ended a 20-game goal drought in the second period for St. Louis, which is in third in the Central with 69 points — 18 ahead of Winnipeg.
“We all talk about line combinations and chemistry — you’ve got to play harder than this,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “A lot harder than this.”
Elliott has allowed one or fewer goals in five of his last seven starts with a 1.27 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. But his record is just 3-2-2 in that stretch.
Elliott’s glove save on Blake Wheeler was perhaps the top play of a scoreless first period, but the goalie couldn’t handle a high rebound and paid for it when Little had a tap-in to put the Jets in front 15 seconds into the second.
“It was spinning up in the air and you kind of lose it up in the lights and stuff,” Elliott said. “No excuses; they capitalized on it.”
Scheifele has 12 goals on the season and has a point in all five games since missing 11 of 14 games with injuries. He scored on a high drive in the shootout after Elliott made pad saves on Wheeler, Andrew Ladd and Little.
“I’ve done it a lot in juniors and obviously in practice, too,” Scheifele said. “So you know what you can do and I was happy to do it.”
Parayko scored his seventh goal on a drive from near the blue line to tie it at 2:27 of the second on a power play.
Winnipeg was a whisker away from taking the lead midway through the third. Tyler Myers‘ shot from the point deflected off Ladd and then ticked off the post, bounced flat just in front of the goal line and slid away.
St. Louis had a 4-1 shots advantage in overtime and buzzed the net at the end, although Connor Hellebuyck didn’t have to make a save.
Blues defencemen had to shoulder a heavier load in their first game without Alex Pietrangelo, out at least three weeks with a right knee injury. Pietrangelo is fourth in the NHL averaging 26:40 on the ice per game, and Kevin Shattenkirk stepped up with 27:54 against Winnipeg.
NOTES: Jets forward Drew Stafford served a one-game suspension for drawing blood with a high stick on Colorado D Nick Holden on Saturday. … The Blues unveiled their 50th anniversary logo, which they’ll use next season, in a pregame ceremony. Former player and coach Bob Plager and an original season-ticket holder dropped ceremonial pucks. … Jets G Ondrej Pavelec, out since Nov. 21 with a knee injury, is with the team and could be close to returning.