Winnipeg, MB (SportsNetwork.com) - Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves through the first 65 minutes and then made two key stops in the shootout to help the Winnipeg Jets top the St. Louis Blues by a 2-1 score.
Winnipeg entered the game holding onto the second wild card spot in the Western Conference and needed its third straight win to stay six points ahead of San Jose, which had beaten Toronto earlier Thursday.
Drew Stafford scored the Jets' goal in regulation and was one of two Jets to score in the shootout.
The Blues lost their two-game winning streak despite 33 saves, including four in overtime, from Brian Elliott. David Backes scored his 25th goal of the season to help St. Louis earn a point.
Entering the third period down 1-0, Winnipeg nearly tied the game on an own goal by St. Louis. Jim Slater's centering pass missed his teammate, and Alexander Steen kicked the puck toward the net where Elliott had to lie on the ice to cover the puck.
The Jets would tie the game with less than seven minutes to play thanks to a strong individual effort from Stafford. After taking a pass in the neutral zone, he went to the backhand to protect the puck from defenders before releasing a shot that beat Elliott on the short side.
Early in overtime, Winnipeg had a great opportunity to end the game when Jacob Trouba had two whacks at a rebound from a Michael Frolik shot that Elliott could not control.
Elliott poke checked the puck away from Blake Wheeler to open the shootout, and T.J. Oshie's quick shot beat Pavelec's five-hole. Stafford followed with a shot through Elliott's pads, and after Vladimir Tarasenko's backhand attempt did not find the back of the net, Andrew Ladd gave Winnipeg a 2-1 edge. Pavelec then stretched his right pad to deny Steen to win the game.
The Blues finally broke the scoreless deadlock near the midpoint of the second period. Winnipeg's failure to clear the zone led to a 2-on-1 down low, and Paul Stastny set up Backes for a wrister that Pavelec had no chance to stop.
St. Louis had won the first three meetings of the season series ... Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has five points in the season series ... Stafford's goal extended his point streak to four games ... Winnipeg entered the game 0-19-4 when trailing after two periods.