The last time that the Blues played a game in Winnipeg was February 6th, 2020. No one knew what the rest of the season would hold for the defending Stanley Cup champions - Jay Bouwmeester was still with the team, and it looked like the Blues were poised to make a deep playoff run.
Then, a month and a half later, the season was put on pause and the momentum went out of the Blues’ sails.
This season the Blues again find themselves leading the Central Division with the Jets not far behind. Winnipeg will be one of St. Louis’ tougher opponents this year - most pundits picked them for a playoff lock led by the strong play of Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets’ starting goaltender isn’t having the smoothest start to the season, going 3-2-2 in his seven starts this season. Tack on a 3.42 GAA and a .899 save percentage, and it’s enough to raise some eyebrows. Granted, we’re still at the start of the young season here, and overall the Jets sitting at 6-3-2 isn’t exactly a losing record. As a matter of fact, the team’s latest run was a six game point streak that ended with their loss on Saturday night to the New York Islanders. The overall game wasn’t the only loss for the Jets - both former Blue Paul Stastny and Mark Scheifele were forced to leave the game due to injury.
The Blues lost just their second game of the season on Sunday night, falling 4-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. After Brandon Saad’s goal less than twenty seconds into the game, the team looked like the multiple roster fluctuations thanks to Covid-19 and injury finally got to them. Losing Brayden Schenn, whose upper body injury is still being evaluated, was a tough loss to manage.
Coach Craig Berube echoed the observations of many fans in his post-game comments:
“It seemed like we didn’t have a lot of emotion in the game. We had opportunities to score. We didn’t capitalize on some good opportunities.”
Sometimes, hot starts get exhausting, especially when the roster is getting a little unpredictable. The Blues played the Jets well the last time they shared a division, in the land before covid. Banking some early points against Central Division rivals is always a good call. This is just the fourth Central opponent that the Blues have played so far this season; they’re 3-1 with wins over the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and Chicago Blackhawks, and a loss against the Avalanche.