Jets' Ladd scores decisive goal in SO vs. Blues
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) The Winnipeg Jets' latest victory had a springtime feel to it.
Andrew Ladd scored the decisive shootout goal, and the Jets beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 on Thursday night.
''That's playoff-style hockey,'' Ladd said.
The Winnipeg captain and two-time Stanley Cup winner helped the Jets take another step toward their first playoff appearance since moving to Manitoba in 2011.
''From our standpoint, the way we prepared and the energy we came out with, and how physical we were on the puck, I think we're going to need to play that type of hockey down the stretch to get in,'' Ladd said.
Drew Stafford netted the only goal in regulation for the Jets. David Backes scored the lone goal for the Blues.
''This is what you play for,'' said Stafford, acquired from Buffalo before last month's NHL trade deadline. ''That's why you play the game, to get a crack at the playoffs, to get a crack and going to the dance.''
Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves for his 16th win of the season.
Brian Elliott stopped 33 shots in the loss.
''I said it before the game, it's playoff-style games, close games, one-goal games,'' said Backes, whose goal marked the fourth time he has reached the 25-goal milestone in his nine-year NHL career. ''It was one heck of a game.
''I don't think either team is terribly disappointed, but we needed two points, and we let it slide.''
The Jets are trying to hold off Calgary in the wild-card race in the Western Conference.
Neither team scored in the first period, but there were offensive opportunities.
Pavelec and Elliott were sharp as the pace picked up following just three combined shots after eight minutes of play.
Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson had the best scoring chance of the period when he found time and space as he skated in from the blue line, but was turned away by Pavelec.
The Blues took a 1-0 lead at 8:08 of the second when Backes beat a sprawling Pavelec after he took a cross-ice pass from Paul Stastny.
Jacob Trouba came close to tying it a few minutes later. Blake Wheeler found the defenseman in space, but Trouba's shot struck the post.
Pavelec continued his stellar play, making two acrobatic saves during a Blues power play late in the second period.
''He made us look good when we couldn't look good,'' Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
Michael Frolik and Mark Stuart both hit the post in the third period for the Jets, but Stafford solved Elliott with under 10 minutes to go after a nifty drop pass from Tyler Myers.
''Our forwards backed off our defense, they pulled back and I don't know for what reason,'' Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''It's too bad for Elliott. He played a hell of a hockey game. Both goalies were good.''
The goal was Stafford's 15th of the season and sixth since he joined the Jets.
NOTES: Winnipeg will host Washington on Saturday night. St. Louis will travel to Minnesota to face the Wild.