The first-place Winnipeg Jets will try to keep up their strong play at home when they host the St. Louis Blues in tonight's interconference clash at MTS Centre.
The Jets have given fans in Winnipeg something to cheer about this season, as the club has played terrific hockey at home in its first campaign since the franchise made the move from Atlanta over the summer. The Jets are 19-9-3 as the host this year compared to an 11-17-4 road record and their play at the MTS Centre has played a huge role in Winnipeg's current first-place status in the Southeast Division.
With 67 points, Winnipeg is one point ahead of Florida for the Southeast lead and is just two ahead of Washington. However, the Panthers have four games in hand over the Jets and the Capitals have played two less tilts than Winnipeg.
The Blues, meanwhile, will try to build off a rare road victory when they take the ice today. St. Louis is 11-13-3 as the guest compared to a stellar 26-4-4 record at home, but the Blues were able to open a six-game road trip on Thursday with a shootout win over Nashville. Ken Hitchcock's club is currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference with 81 points and is four ahead of the Predators for that distinction.
Winnipeg moved one point ahead of Florida for first place thanks to a 4-3 home win over Tampa Bay on Thursday. Andrew Ladd scored and added a pair of assists to help the Jets improve to 3-0-1 on an eight-game homestand that is set to end on March 5 against Buffalo.
Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and an assist, while Tanner Glass and Evander Kane also scored for the Jets, who have won four of their last five games overall. Ondrej Pavelec made 22 saves for the win and Byfuglien, Kane and Blake Wheeler are all carrying five-game point streaks into today's contest.
"I'm happy to say that we're first in the division," Jets head coach Claude Noel said. "I'm happy we're third in the conference. Don't know how long it'll happen."
Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian has missed the last five games with an upper- body/foot injury and is questionable for today's test.
The Blues had lost two straight on the road before notching Thursday's 3-2 win in Music City. T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald scored in the shootout, while Chris Stewart and Vladimir Sobotka lit the lamp in regulation for the Blues, who snapped a four-game skid against Nashville.
Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves for St. Louis, which is just four points behind Detroit for the Central Division lead.
The Blues lost defenseman Kris Russell in Thursday's game, as he was forced to leave the contest due to concussion-like symptoms. Russell has been sent back to St. Louis and will miss today's contest. Forward Matt D'Agostini has sat out the last nine games with a concussion and is still sidelined indefinitely.
St. Louis is playing in Winnipeg for the first time since it faced the original Jets, who are now located in Phoenix, back on Jan. 24, 1996. The Blues have won two straight and three of five over the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise.