Jets can’t solve rookie goaltender Joel Hofer in shutout loss to Blues

St. Louis Blues' Jakub Vrana (15) scores past Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 19, 2023, in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kasperi Kapanen, Nathan Walker and Jakub Vrana each scored to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.

Rookie goalie and Winnipeg native Joel Hofer started in his first home appearance with St. Louis and stopped 33 shots in his fourth NHL start to help the Blues win for the fourth time in six games. He didn’t get the shutout because he had to leave the ice for a skate repair in the second period. Thomas Greiss had a save while filling in.

Hofer started in place of the suspended Jordan Binnington on Friday and had 33 saves in a 5-2 win against Washington — his first NHL game since Nov. 13, 2021. Hofer, called up from Springfield of the American Hockey League under emergency conditions Thursday after Binnington was suspended, is now 3-1-0 in the NHL.

Connor Hellebuyck, starting for the second straight day, had 14 saves for the Jets, who have lost three of their last four games.

Winnipeg fell short of completing a season sweep of the Blues after having won the teams’ first three meetings by a combined 13-4 margin.

From the side of the net, Kapanen redirected a pass from Nick Leddy past Hellebuyck at 4:04 of the first period, giving St. Louis a 1-0 lead. It was his fourth goal in 10 games with the Blues.

Walker increased the lead to 2-0 with 9:26 left in the second. Justin Faulk skated in down the left wing when he made a backhanded pass to Walker, who one-timed the puck from the side of the net. 

Vrana wristed in a shot on a breakaway at 12 minutes of the third period after getting a pass from Kapanen. It was his fourth goal in four games.


Binnington served the second of his two-game suspension Sunday. Binnington was suspended by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct against Minnesota forward Ryan Hartman in the second period of St. Louis’ 8-5 loss on Wednesday.


Play was halted at 4:55 of the second period when Hofer lost a skate blade while in net after making a save. After trying to replace it back, Hofer was forced to go back to the locker room for the repair. Greiss came in and made one save in 2:36 before Hofer returned.


Blues D Torey Krug received a game misconduct at 13:24 of the first period after his used his stick to slam on the penalty box glass,. He also was called for a double minor and given a 10-minute misconduct as well on the play. … The Blues assigned LW Nikita Alexandrov and D Tyler Tucker to Springfield of the AHL on Saturday. Alexandrov had seven points (three goals, four assists) in 28 games with the Blues, and Tucker had a goal and three assists in 24 games.


Jets F Pierre-Luc Dubois (lower body injury) is day to day, C Sam Gagner (hip injury) is out for the season, and C Cole Perfetti (upper-body injury) is also out. 

Blues LW Jake Neighbours (upper-body injury) is back to practising but remains out.


Jets: Host Arizona on Tuesday night.

Blues: Host Detroit on Tuesday night.

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