WINNIPEG -- A third-period goal from Drew Stafford helped the Winnipeg Jets win for the first time this season when trailing after two periods, a 2-1 shootout victory against the St. Louis Blues at MTS Centre on Thursday.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd had the deciding goal in the shootout, and goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves. Winnipeg was 0-19-4 starting the third period behind.
"You need to eventually have that belief that you can be down against a good team and come back and win," Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
Winnipeg (36-24-12) has won three games in a row and holds the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Jets are one point behind the Minnesota Wild and two ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.
The Jets are 10-2-2 in their past 14 home games. Winnipeg ended an 0-5-2 streak against St. Louis dating to Oct. 18, 2013.
The Jets finish a three-game homestand Saturday against the Washington Capitals.
"We spent everything we had, and we needed the fans to be as great as they were in this building tonight because that had a lot to do with us being able to play that hard for that long," Maurice said.
St. Louis (45-20-6) is in first place in the Central Division. With 96 points, the Blues are one point behind the NHL-leading Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 Thursday, and the Anaheim Ducks.
Stafford scored his 15th goal with 6:42 left in the third period. The goal ended the Blues' shutout streak at 179:32 and their road shutout streak at 190:17.
"It's too bad for [goalie Brian Elliott]," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He played a [heck] of a hockey game. [Each] goalie was good.
"We were a step behind. Until the game got tied up, we were probably a half-step behind. They were a little bit more desperate. I thought we were a little bit behind and not in sync. We played slowly compared to what we can play."
St. Louis captain David Backes scored 8:08 into the second period. Three seconds after the Blues' second power play ended, they kept a loose puck inside the Jets blue line and worked it into the left corner. Paul Stastny directed a cross-ice pass to the right circle, where Backes snapped his 25th goal under the crossbar. He has a four-game point streak (three goals, three assists).
"The reality is that I think we were on our heels way too much," Backes said. "They kept coming, coming, coming. You hope those are alarm bells going off in your head that they are getting way too close to putting one in."
The Jets hit the post three times over the second and third periods. Stafford beat Elliott with a backhand left-side shot.
"We played as hard as we could," Maurice said. "We didn't change when we got down. We got pucks to the net and we played hard."
Stafford extended his point streak to four games (three goals, two assists). Since coming to the Jets in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 11, Stafford has six goals and five assists in 15 games.
"It's huge," Stafford said. "We rallied, and we rallied behind the fans, feeding off their buzz and energy. We're just going to try to keep rolling."
Stafford is part of a recently formed line with center Mark Scheifele and right wing Blake Wheeler; it has combined for six goals and five assists in the past three games.
"[Stafford] really has had a huge impact since he has been here," Maurice said. "To come in here and just be a piece of it, a huge piece of it, it has got to be a good feeling for him.
"All three of them are finding each other, they're talking on the ice, they're playing off each other. The stuff that [makes up] chemistry, I guess, that you can't invent."
With center Bryan Little and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien each out of the lineup with an upper-body injury, the Jets have relied on Stafford and another addition from Buffalo, defenseman Tyler Myers, who played a Jets-high 29:02.
"[Each] of those players coming from Buffalo have made just huge impacts on surviving the injuries up front and on the back end," Maurice said.
Pavelec made his third consecutive start, the first time he had done so since Nov. 6-11. After rookie Michael Hutchinson started eight consecutive games, Pavelec has allowed four goals in these three starts.
"We played a really tough game," Pavelec said. "It's a physical team to play. They don't give up a lot of scoring chances. We just found a way to win."
The Jets and Blues finish their five-game season series April 7 at Scottrade Center.
"We've got them one more time in our building," Backes said. "It's going to be another barn-burner that is going to be a physical [game] and everything you expect from hockey this time of the year."
The Blues continue their road trip Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.
Winnipeg is attempting to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2007 when the franchise was known as the Atlanta Thrashers.
"From our standpoint, the way we prepared, the energy we [had], how physical we were and on the puck, I think we're going to need to play that type of hockey down the stretch to get in," Ladd said. "That's playoff-style hockey."