Jets rally in third to sting struggling Blues 4-2
WINNIPEG — Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele made sure the Winnipeg Jets were going into the NHL all-star and player break on a high.
The Jets' stars each scored two third-period goals as Winnipeg erased a 2-0 deficit and defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Monday night.
The victory snapped a three-game losing skid and extended the Blues' losing streak to five games.
“Josh played frickin’ fantastic tonight,” Scheifele said. “He always does, and he got rewarded. A few big goals by him, and he led us tonight, sure.”
St. Louis took a 2-0 lead at 2:02 of the third period, but Morrissey scored 40 seconds later with a shot from the slot that beat Jordan Binnington glove side.
Scheifele followed at 9:32 after a St. Louis giveaway and Morrissey added the go-ahead goal 21 seconds later when his shot went off the Blues Brayden Schenn.
Scheifele scored his 31st of the season into an empty net with 24 seconds remaining in the game.
Saku Maenalanen and Kyle Connor both registered a pair of assists for the Jets (32-19-1).
Connor Hellebuyck made 24 saves for the Jets, who are 3-5-0 in their past eight games and changed all four lines to start the match with St. Louis.
Jake Neighbours had a goal and assist and Nikita Alexandrov also scored for the Blues (23-25-3), who finished a three-game road trip.
Binnington made 35 stops and picked up an assist on Neighbours' goal.
“I think it’s just a couple mistakes that we wish we could take back,” Neighbours said. “But it’s something to learn and build from.”
Morrissey had shouted “let's (bleeping) go” after his first goal to rally his teammates. He joked he “kind of blacked out” to explain his cursing.
“You can feel the tension in the rink,” Morrissey said. “Obviously fans are getting on us and at times rightfully so, for sure.
“But we have a great team, we have a great group of guys here and it just felt like we were playing a really good game tonight and not getting rewarded, so I tried to get a little emotion.”
Morrissey, who has a career-high 10 goals and 43 assists, was named to the all-star team representing the Central Division. Hellebuyck was voted in by fans to also attend the event in Sunrise, Fla.
Jets head coach Rick Bowness agreed Morrissey kind of took over the game.
“To score 40 seconds after they got that second goal just turned the whole game around in our favour,” Bowness said. “That was a hell of a shot and a great rush.
“He’d been playing that way the whole game. Sometimes you step up and be the difference-maker, and he was tonight.”
In the only game on the NHL's Monday schedule, there was no scoring in the first period but lots of squandered opportunities.
After the Blues came up empty on the game's first power play, the Jets were handed a four-minute man advantage when Alexandrov was dinged with a double minor for high-sticking Jets forward Kyle Connor in the face.
The lengthy power play was a bust, with the Jets only getting one shot on Binnington.
The St. Louis netminder then foiled shots by Pierre-Luc Dubois and Maenalanen.
“He was obviously a big part of why we were in that game the whole game,” Blues defenceman Colton Parayko said of Binnington. “He made some big saves early on, big saves throughout the game.”
The Jets had another pair of power plays in the first half of the second period, but a total of six shots couldn't get by Binnington.
St. Louis made good on its next power play.
Binnington sent the puck to Nick Leddy, who made a stretch pass to Neighbours that he used for a backhand shot to beat Hellebuyck at 14:36.
“Our kill was really good and we got a power-play goal there. It was a nice play,” Blues head coach Craig Berube said.
“Kind of hanging in there with a pretty depleted lineup, you know. You've got to manage things and we just didn't manage it good enough.”
The Blues took two quick penalties, but the Jets couldn't strike with a 25-second two-man advantage nor the five-on-four.
Winnipeg outshot the visitors 19-7 in the middle frame, but was 0-for-6 on the power play after 40 minutes. St. Louis was 1-for-2.
REMEMBERING A STAR
Before puck drop, the Jets showed a video tribute and held a moment of silence for former star Bobby Hull, who died Monday at the age of 84.
The Hockey Hall of Famer played for the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks before signing a then-record $1-million deal to join the Winnipeg Jets of the upstart World Hockey Association in 1972. The scoring legend spent eight seasons with the Jets, the last when the club merged with the NHL.
Jets: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 11.
Blues: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 11.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.
Judy Owen, The Canadian Press