SPORTS

Andrew Ladd scores shootout winner as Jets down Blues 2-1

03/19/2015 11:05 EDT | Updated 05/19/2015 05:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - Andrew Ladd reflected on the type of game his club played to pick up the win against the St. Louis Blues Thursday night and made an assertion.

"That's playoff-style hockey," said Ladd.

The Winnipeg captain and two-time Stanley Cup winner scored the decisive goal in the shootout to give the Jets a 2-1 win, which vaulted them another step towards their first playoff appearance since moving to Winnipeg in 2011.

"From our standpoint, the way we prepared and the energy we came out with and how physical we were on the puck, I think we're going to need to play that type of hockey down the stretch to get in," said Ladd.

"This is what you play for, that's why you play the game to get a crack at the playoffs, to get a crack and going to the dance," added Drew Stafford, who joined the Jets from Buffalo just prior to the trade deadline.

Stafford picked up the only goal in regulation time for the Jets (36-23-12) while David Backes scored the lone goal for the Blues.

"I said it before the game, it's playoff-style games, close games, one-goal games," said Backes, whose goal marked the fourth time that he has reached the 25-goal mark in his nine-year career.

"It was one heck of a game, I don't think either team is terribly disappointed, but we needed two points and we let it slide."

Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves for his 16th win of the season as Brian Elliott stopped 33 shots for St. Louis (45-20-6).

The Jets kept themselves one-point ahead of the Calgary Flames, who won 4-1 on Thursday night, for the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Both sides played to a scoreless first, but the period wasn't without its chances.

Pavelec and Elliott had to be on their toes as the pace picked up following just three combined shots after eight minutes of play.

Blues defenceman Carl Gunnarsson registered the best chance of the period when the former Toronto Maple Leaf found time and space as he trotted in from the blue-line, but was turned away by the Czech netminder.

The Blues got on the board first at 8:08 of the second period when Backes beat a sprawling Pavelec after taking a cross-ice pass from Paul Stastny.

Jacob Trouba came close to tying the contest a few minutes later. Blake Wheeler found the sophomore defenceman in space, but Trouba's shot rang off the post.

Meanwhile, Pavelec continued his stellar play, making two acrobatic saves on a Blues power play late in the second to keep it a one-goal game.

"He made us look good when we couldn't look good," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

Michael Frolik and Mark Stuart each hit the post in the third period for the Jets, but Stafford would finally solve Elliott with less than 10 minutes to go after a drop pass from Tyler Myers.

"Our forwards backed off our defence, they pulled back and I don't know for what reason," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock. "It's too bad for Elliott, he played a hell of a hockey game. Both goalies were good."

The goal was Stafford's 15th of the season and sixth since joining the Jets.

Winnipeg welcomes the Washington Capitals on Saturday night while St. Louis travels to Minnesota for a matchup with the Wild.

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