Winnipeg Jets

Lupul on Kadri: ‘This stuff happens — it happened in Winnipeg’

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Toronto winger Joffrey Lupul was front and center today in the wake of the Nazem Kadri situation, and offered up an interesting parallel when discussing Kadri with reporters.

“This stuff happens — it happened in Winnipeg,” Lupul explained, per TSN. “They were able to get away from it just fine, and control it.”

Lupul is, of course, referencing the Evander Kane situation in Winnipeg, which is a dicey example to throw out. Kane was alleged to have gotten in a dispute with teammates — specifically, Dustin Byfuglien — before reportedly no-showing for a game in Vancouver. That was followed by Kane’s decision to have season-ending shoulder surgery, which was then followed by the Jets shipping him to Buffalo.

Kadri’s situation in Toronto sounds a lot different.

The Leafs forward was made a healthy scratch on Monday after oversleeping and missing Sunday’s team meeting. That was followed by today’s announcement, in which team president Brendan Shanahan tacked on two more games to Kadri’s punishment, saying “there’s more to this, obviously” than just a missed meeting.

Unlike Kane, Kadri looks as though he’ll return to the Toronto lineup this season. And also unlike Kane, Kadri seems to have the backing of teammates, at least publicly — in addition to Lupul, Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf also vowed his support.

Winnipeg hardly showed similar unity in the aftermath of shower-gate; Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler were pretty outspoken in stressing the need for professionalism and following rules, but never said anything about welcoming Kane back, or how good a guy he was.

Based on today’s comments, Lupul and the Leafs genuinely like Kadri.

“Just so the story’s not blown out of proportion, he’s a good guy and a good teammate,” Lupul explained. “It’s not like he’s ever created any problems in here or anything.

“He’s a good guy and one of my good friends, and everyone in here will say the same thing.”

Jackman’s center-ice goal deals blow to Jets wild card chase

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St. Louis blew a three-goal lead Tuesday night, but Barret Jackman beat Ondrej Pavelec from center ice with just over a minute remaining leading the Blues to a 5-4 win.

“When I threw it in there, I thought [Pavelec] was kind of surveying the play and was just going to grab it and flip it to the side,” said Jackman per NHL.com’s Lou Korac. “It just kind of floated over the glove. [Pavelec] obviously didn’t get a good look at it.”

Jets head coach Paul Maurice reportedly had just a 47-second scrum post-game.

“It went in. There was nothing magical about it,” said Maurice of the Jackman goal.

The Jets loss coupled with the L.A. Kings win over the Colorado Avalanche leaves Winnipeg with a one-point lead over the Kings for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Blues (42-19-5) now trail the Nashville Predators by just two points for top spot in the Central Division and have two games in hand.

St. Louis scored four goals on its first seven shots of the game chasing Winnipeg starter Michael Hutchinson.

After Michael Frolik opened the scoring, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Steve Ott and Jori Lehtera all beat Hutchinson.

The Blues STL line of Schwartz, Tarasenko and Lehtera combined for six points in the win. The trio now has 17 points in four games.

Pavelec made 19 saves in the loss.

Andrew Ladd and Lee Stempniak got the Jets’ comeback started scoring twice 11 seconds apart early in the third.

Blake Wheeler scored shorthanded to tie it 4-4.

St. Louis has now won all three meetings between the two clubs. The Blues and Jets meet again March 19 in Winnipeg.

Blues score four, chase Hutchinson

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The St. Louis Blues scored four times on seven shots in just over a period and half of action tonight chasing Winnipeg Jets’ starter Michael Hutchinson.

The Blues’ STL line of Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera have combined for six points tonight.

Lehtera’s marker at 11:09 of the second spelled the end of the night for Hutchinson.

Ondrej Pavelec has come on in relief.

Goalie nods: Pickard replaces injured Varlamov; Roy says start would be ‘unfair’ to Berra

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Pickard starts, Berra backs up

Having gone 8-3-0 in their last 11, the Avs are on the fringe of playoff contention and —  with a win against Los Angeles and a Jets regulation loss in St. Louis tonight — would be just five points back of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

As such, Patrick Roy is replacing injured No. 1 netminder with AHL recall Calvin Pickard, rather than backup Reto Berra.

“It’s very simple. Reto’s been practicing really well and the three games he came in for relief he did a good job for us, but he hasn’t started a game since Nov. 25,” Roy explained, per the Denver Post. “It’d be unfair to put him in a situation like this, such an important game for us.

“All the games Calvin played for us, he played really well. He’s one of the reasons why we’re in the position today of still having a chance to make the playoffs.”

Pickard, 22, is 6-6-3 this year for Colorado, posting  a .936 save percentage and 2.18 GAA. Berra, who has spent most of the season in Roy’s doghouse, had a couple of decent relief outings in February — stopping 22 of 23 shots against the Coyotes and Predators — but didn’t look great in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota, allowing one goal on four shots after Varlamov left with a lower-body injury.

No word yet on who’ll start for the Kings tonight.

Elsewhere…

Rangers at Isles: Cam Talbot vs. Jaroslav Halak

Stars at Flyers: Kari Lehtonen (probable) vs. Steve Mason

Jackets at ‘Canes: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Cam Ward

Bolts at Habs: Ben Bishop vs. Carey Price

Bruins at Sens: Tuukka Rask vs. Craig Anderson

Jets at Blues: Michael Hutchinson vs. Brian Elliott

Devils at Wild: Cory Schneider vs. Devan Dubnyk

Predators drop sixth straight as Jets get much-needed win

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The Nashville Predators have gone from being the most dominant team in the NHL to one that can’t seem to win at all. They dropped their sixth consecutive game in Winnipeg’s 3-1 victory Saturday night.

Nashville’s offense has been part of the problem lately as its managed just six goals in its last four contests. Predators forward James Neal finished with a minus-two rating tonight and extended his point drought to nine games. Rookie scoring leader Filip Forsberg has also gone cold with just a goal and an assist over his last nine contests.

Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler netted the game-winning goal in the second period and later got an assist on an empty netter. This was his second multi-point game in three contests, giving him 18 goals and 48 points in 64 contests in 2014-15.

With a 33-21-12 record, Winnipeg has a four-point edge over the Los Angeles Kings in the Wild Card race, but the Kings have played in two less contests. At the same time, it’s worth noting that Los Angeles is closer to third place in the Pacific Division than the second Wild Card spot, so the Jets and Kings aren’t in direction competition, although that could change in a hurry.

Nashville is still leading the Central Division with a 41-19-7 record, but St. Louis is just two points back after beating Toronto tonight. Chicago is within striking distance too, so the Predators are in danger of losing the home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs if they don’t find a way to right their ship. Of course, even if their position wasn’t in jeopardy, the last thing they want to do is limp into the postseason.