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Beyak: Unlucky bounce hands Blues close win over Jets

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Dennis Beyak, TSN.ca
12/11/2013 1:18:36 AM
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It was third time in three meetings this season between the Jets and Blues that the game has been decided by one goal. The Jets won the first meeting 4-3 in a shootout with the Blues winning 3-2 in the game played in St. Louis. With the loss the Jets record drops back to an even .500 at 14-14-4. It's now four straight games at the MTS Centre without a win.

The teams played through a scoreless first period with the Jets outshooting the Blues 8-2 with another 10 shots by the Jets blocked, and four missing the net. So in total the Jets directed 22 shots at Blues goaltender Brian Elliott.

The first goal of the game at 4:44 of the second period and again it was Alexander Steen doing the damage. It was his 21st of the year. It was a shot from the corner that Ondrej Pavelec would say was a mistake post-game.

“When you don't get a lot of shots, it's hard to keep your focus,” he said. “And that's what happened, I lost my focus.” The shots in the second were 8-5 Blues.

The Jets tied the game in the third on a power play goal by Brian Little. It was the first power play goal by a Jets forward since Blake Wheeler scored in St. Louis Oct. 29. All the Jets power play goals in between came from Dustin Byfuglin (four) and Keaton Ellerby (one). It was Little's 13th goal of the season and snapped an eight game goalless stretch.

In the game in St. Louis the Jets killed off the first five Blues power plays with Steen scoring on the sixth for the Blues win. Jets were two-for-two on the penalty kill when Byfuglien was called for hooking, giving the Blues another chance to put the NHL's No. 2 power play to work.

A shot by Kevin Shattenkirk went off Little, fluttered towards the net looking like it would go over the goal. But it ran out of steam, dropping and catching the top corner. That would be the winner with 3:02 left in the third. The final shots were 21-20 in a close-checking game that at times lacked emotion.

“It was a chess match played game,” offered Coach Claude Noel. “We played a pretty good game, just didn't finish it. They ended up scoring the seeing-eye power play goal – what can you do? Our neutral zone forecheck was good, we did the things we had to do to win the game 2-1. It's disappointing. We were good enough to win. Our power play was good, really moved the puck around.”

Byfuglien led the way in ice time at 28:49, Jacob Trouba led the way in hits with five. The Jets are now 3-10-2 within the Central Division, while being above .500 against every other division.

The Jets were again minus Evander Kane, who is out with a lower body injury. Also out with injury were Paul Postma, Jim Slater and Zach Bogosian. There are two more home games this week for the Jets, against Colorado on Thursday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) and Dallas Saturday afternoon (TSN 1290).

Ondrej Pavelec Mark Stuart  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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