Jake Allen allows a goal during the Blues' 5-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night at Scottrade Center. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

By Rob Rains

Jake Allen thought he took a step in the right direction Tuesday night, but it still did not prevent the Blues from losing another game.

Allen, who had been pulled from his last three starts after allowing 10 goals on a combined 36 shots, was better against the Winnipeg Jets but still suffered a 5-3 loss at Scottrade Center.

Allen, making his first start since Jan. 19, allowed three goals on Winnipeg’s first 11 shots, but didn’t really have a chance to stop two of them. He finished the game with 19 saves on the Jets’ 23 shots.

“It wasn’t the result we wanted but for my sake it felt pretty good,” Allen said. “Two lucky defections, but it doesn’t matter anymore. We’ve got to find ways to win.”
Wins have been hard to come by for Allen and the Blues lately. He has not won since the Winter Classic game on Jan. 2 and the Blues lost for the fifth time in their last six games.

The loss also was the fourth in a row at home in regulation for the Blues, the first time that has happened since they lost six consecutive games in 2006. Coach Ken Hitchcock remained stuck on 781 career wins, one away from tying Al Arbour for third on the all-time list.

“These are divisional opponents right now, these are four point games for us,”Allen said. “Tonight was a chance to gain some points and we let it slip. We’ve just got to find ways to execute a little better.”

Coach Ken Hitchcock knows where the Blues need to improve.

“We made mistakes and we're paying for them right now,” Hitchcock said. “We've got to minimize our mistakes. We've got to get more players playing to the same level that some of the guys played at today. There were some really good performances by some people today. We just have to get more people doing it.”

Hitchcock did think Allen played better.

“Good start,” Hitchcock said. “We'll see. We'll get him back in on Thursday and see how we do.”

The Blues scored the first goal of the game for the first time in nine home games when Alexander Steen scored early in the first period, but the Jets responded with a goal in the final minute of the first period to tie it and in the opening minute of the second period.

A power-play goal by Nikolaj Ehlers increased Winnipeg’s lead to 3-1 before Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 22nd of the year for the Blues to pull them within 3-2 going into the final period.

Jacob Trouba scored what proved to be the winning goal 3:33 into the final period when his shot deflected off the skate of Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and into the net.

“Obviously it was a little fluky, but when you play the right way, I think the game rewards you,” said Mark Scheifele, who had a goal and two assists for the Jets. “That’s what we were doing. Trouby played awesome for us all night and he got rewarded with a fluky one and that’s the way she goes.”

Each team scored a late goal, with Pietrangelo scoring for the Blues with 13 seconds left and Blake Wheeler scoring into an empty net with three seconds remaining.

Pietrangelo preferred to look at the positives after the game, that the team played well in spurts and that Allen was better in goal.

"Keep playing better and find a way to win hockey games,” he said. “There's going to be nights where you play good and you don't win, there's going to be nights where you don't play well and you win. We've just got to find a way to keep that even keel and play the same way every night. That should result in some good results for us."

NOTES: RW Nail Yakupov replaced RW Dmitrij Jaskin in the Blues' lineup. Yakupov had played in only one of the team's last four games while Jaskin was scratched for the second time since Jan. 12. ... The Blues also made one change on defense, inserting D Carl Gunnarsson into the lineup in place of D Robert Bortuzzo. ... The Blues' home game Thursday night against Toronto will start an hour later than normal, at 8 p.m. CT, because of a pregame ceremony to retire the No. 5 jersey of former defenseman Bob Plager.