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'They're going to be at their best': Jets prepared for desperate St. Louis Blues team

Winnipeg Jets' Rasmus Kupari (15) and Neal Pionk (4) move the puck past St. Louis Blues' Alexey Toropchenko (13) during the third period of NHL action in Winnipeg on Tuesday October 24, 2023. (Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press) Winnipeg Jets' Rasmus Kupari (15) and Neal Pionk (4) move the puck past St. Louis Blues' Alexey Toropchenko (13) during the third period of NHL action in Winnipeg on Tuesday October 24, 2023. (Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press)

The season series between the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues has so far gone the way of the Canadian team.

The first two matchups in late October and early November were 4-2 and 5-2 wins respectively for the Jets.

Tuesday will be the third and final meeting in the regular season between the two and with St. Louis just four points out of a playoff spot, the Jets are anticipating a very different team compared to earlier in the season.

"They're playing a lot better, they are. The kids are playing really well right now. They're scoring goals, powerplay looks good, they get great goaltending. They're a good team," said Head Coach Rick Bowness.

Bowness said he expects the Blues to be desperate as they try to claw into the last wild card spot.

"They're four points out. I know they have a couple games in hand, but those don't mean much unless you win them. So when they're that close, we know they're going to be coming at us."

It hasn't just been this season that the Jets have had the upper hand on the Blues, in their last 12 games, Winnipeg is 10-1-1 against St. Louis.

Despite the winning history, D-man Josh Morrissey said he is concerned with the previous results.

"They're going to be at their best tonight. It's nice that we've been able to get some points against them in the past, but it's a new game and the past doesn't matter," said Morrissey.

In the month of February, the Jets have played in and won some tight one-goal games. Four of their six wins were decided by one goal, the last two coming in overtime.

When asked about how the team finds success in these tight affairs, Morrissey said it's been about getting the little details right.

"I think good teams find a way to win. I know it's a classic saying, cliché, but I really feel it's true. Obviously, it's an 82 game season and every game is going to look a little bit different. You're not going to have you’re a game every night, other teams are going to play well. Lots of variables come into play. So finding different ways to win, I think, is key. You need that in the playoffs as well."

Bowness credits the success to the players sticking to their structure.

"A lot of it has to do with puck management and shift lengths and things like that. So we get into those situations, those are the things we talk a lot about in between periods and on the benches. Make sure we're managing the puck properly, make sure we have good structure all over the ice, make sure we have pressure all over the ice and make sure the shift lengths are at the right time so that we're not getting bogged down with long shifts and spending too much time in our zone," said Bowness.

Lineup notes for the Jets will see Sean Monahan back on the second line with Nikolaj Ehlers and Alex Iafallo after he missed Sunday's contest due to illness.

The trio has played one game together and saw success.

"These guys are really easy to play with," Monahan said on Tuesday.

He said he is starting to feel some chemistry building with Ehlers and likens him to one of his former linemates with the Calgary Flames.

"I think we're starting to make reads off each other…he's different for sure. I mean, he reminds me a little bit of Johnny (Gaudreau). He's a guy who I played with a long time and he wants the puck in high ice, moving his feet…he's a great player and a lot of fun to play with."

With Iafallo staying on the second line, it means Perfetti will be slotted on the fourth line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Morgan Barron.

Laurent Brossoit will also make another start for Winnipeg, with Bowness saying he has played great as of late and he has earned more time between the pipes.

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