NHL

Jets-Blues Preview

While a late-season run has the St. Louis Blues vying for the top seed in the Western Conference, the Winnipeg Jets hope their recent strong play leads to the city's first playoff experience in 19 years.

With their top forwards again day to day with lower-body injuries, the first-place Blues seek their fourth consecutive victory Tuesday night when they go after a sixth straight home win against the Jets.

St. Louis (49-23-7) trailed Nashville by three points in the Central Division and Pacific-leading Anaheim by six following a 1-3-2 stretch last week.

The Blues, however, have run off three consecutive victories to move past the Predators and put themselves in position to draw even with the Ducks as they open the final three-game homestand.

They've been succeeding without Vladimir Tarasenko - the team leader with 71 points - and Alexander Steen, who is tied for second with 62. Steen could return in this game, though Tarasenko's status is more uncertain.

''We're missing our two leading scorers, but we're finding ways,'' captain David Backes said. ''We like the fact we're playing good hockey with three games left.''

After totaling 11 goals over its previous six games, St. Louis scored 11 times in victories over visiting Calgary and at Dallas before goalie Jake Allen finished with 38 saves in a 2-1 road win over Chicago on Sunday.

Allen will get another opportunity in this game after going 4-0-1 with a 1.20 goals-against average in his last five starts. In his only career start against the Jets (41-26-12), he stopped 28 of 30 shots in a 4-2 road win Nov. 23.

Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec allowed three goals on 28 shots in that contest as part of a personal four-game losing streak versus St. Louis. He snapped that skid by finishing with 32 saves in a 2-1 shootout home win March 19.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd described that contest as "playoff-style hockey" after scoring the decisive shootout tally. Ladd, who has a career and team-high 62 points, has two goals and five assists in his last five games at Scottrade Center.

Pavelec has been shouldering the load down the stretch, giving up 11 goals in his previous three starts before turning aside 32 shots in Monday's 2-0 road win over Minnesota that snapped the team's two-game losing streak.

''It starts with Pav in net making some unbelievable saves,'' winger Drew Stafford said.

Blake Wheeler scored his team-leading 26th goal in the first period, giving him 10 over his last 16 games.

The Jets, who have won eight of 11, hold the second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Los Angeles.

The franchise hasn't reached the postseason since moving from Atlanta for the 2011-12 season. The city last saw postseason hockey when the original Jets reached the playoffs in their final season in 1995-96.

The club hasn't had much success in St. Louis dating to its time in Atlanta, going 0-3-2 since its last win there in 2009.

Barret Jackman extended the Blues' run at home with the go-ahead score with 1:03 left in a 5-4 victory March 10. St. Louis has earned at least one point in every meeting this season, also pulling out a 2-1 shootout road win Feb. 26.

The Jets' Toby Enstrom is day to day with an upper-body injury, while fellow defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is serving a suspension.

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