(SportsNetwork.com) - The desperate Winnipeg Jets will try to boost their playoff chances with a third straight victory when they visit the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.
After beating Vancouver on home ice this past Saturday, the Jets took to the road on Monday and notched an important 2-0 win in Minnesota.
The victory allowed Winnipeg to take possession of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, where it sits one point ahead of Los Angeles for the final wild card berth. The Kings lost in a shootout Monday in Vancouver. Both L.A. and the Jets have three games left in the regular season and the Kings play tonight in Edmonton.
The Jets, who haven't made the postseason since relocating from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 campaign, also can catch Minnesota in the postseason standings. The Wild are two points in front of Winnipeg for the first wild card spot. Minnesota has three games remaining and is visiting Chicago on Tuesday.
Ondrej Pavelec came up big for the Jets on Monday, making 32 saves for his third shutout of the season and 14th of his career. He stopped nine Minnesota shots in the opening period and posted 23 saves over the final 40 minutes.
"We had a good start," said Pavelec. "All game long, I was able to see the puck."
Blake Wheeler and Drew Stafford scored the Jets' goals in their second straight win. Mathieu Perreault recorded an assist in the win, giving him five helpers over the last three games.
Winnipeg improved to 19-13-7 as the road club. The Jets are playing the middle test of a three-game swing this evening and will complete the trip Thursday at Colorado.
The Jets regular-season finale is set for Saturday against visiting Calgary. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will be eligible to return from a four-game suspension against the Flames. Byfuglien received the ban for a cross-check to the back of New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller during last Tuesday's game.
While Winnipeg is still in a tight battle for a postseason berth, the Blues already have clinched a playoff spot and are in the driver's seat in the race for the Central Division title.
St. Louis leads the division with 105 points, one more than Nashville and three ahead of third-place Chicago. All three clubs have three games remaining in the regular season. The Predators play tonight in Colorado, while the Blackhawks are home against Minnesota.
The Blues moved into first place with Sunday's 2-1 regulation win in Chicago. The clubs will meet one more time in the regular season when St. Louis hosts the rematch on Thursday before completing its schedule with Saturday's home test versus Minnesota.
Jake Allen stopped 38 shots to anchor Sunday's win over the Blackhawks. David Backes and Olli Jokinen each scored in the second period for the Blues, who earned their third straight victory.
"Our division is pretty crazy when you look at the standings, see how tight three teams are, but (just take it) one game at a time," said Allen, who will start in net again tonight.
St. Louis played its fourth straight game without Alexander Steen and third in a row without Vladimir Tarasenko. Both forwards are considered day-to-day but neither player will return tonight.
Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo also left Sunday's tilt with an upper-body injury and will sit out on Tuesday.
The Jets snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Blues with a 2-1 shootout victory in Winnipeg on March 19, but St. Louis has claimed the last five encounters at home. The Blues haven't lost as the host in this series since dropping a 4-2 decision to the Atlanta Thrashers on Oct. 8, 2009.
St. Louis is 25-11-2 as the host this season.