The Dallas Stars entered this one on a 10-0-1 tear that's seen them climb to the top of the Pacific division. They leave with the near mirror image of that record, 1-10-2, on the second night of back to back sessions this year, trying to make the playoff in spite of it.
After out-lasting the Minnesota Wild last night the Stars hoped to get greedy and pull points in both games but the lead in the legs when faced with an opponent that had just enjoyed a four day break (inexplicable scheduling) made it difficult, and they just couldn't match the intensity level throughout as the Jets were a step quicker to every puck.
The Stars, though they appeared to have lost Philip Larsen, were probably glad to have survived the first period down only a single tally after Nik Antropov wristed one over Richard Bachman's diminutive frame. Shots were 10-9 Winnipeg, though that didn't tell much of the story.
As if to adjust the scoreboard to reflect the play on the ice, Evander Kane made it 2-0 about a minute into the second period off a hard rebound off of Bachman. Seven minutes later Adam Pardy had a shot blocked and the Jets raced the other way. Bachman was beat clean on a slap shot from the wing and the route was on. They would add two additional tallies to make it 5-0.
Dallas got some very good news shortly thereafter, and it wasn't the Loui Eriksson goal that cut the lead to four. It was the return of Philip Larsen, who took the ice for two shifts late in the second after being evaluated by the medical staff for over an hour in real time. He didn't come back after that. It's not known if that's because he wasn't able or if it was precautionary. If he's able to go on Friday then that's a tremendous silver lining in what appeared to be a night filled with nothing but bad news.
The third period was a perfunctory affair that fulfilled the requirements set forth in the rule book and little else. Loui Eriksson would add a second goal for the Stars in the waning stages but the Jets sat back and denied Dallas time and space in their own end. Pavelec gets the win, and the Stars out-shot them 30-28, technically, but the scoring chance report will tell a very different story.
These things happen. You'd prefer not to end such a glorious run with a resounding dud of a game against a very mediocre, non-playoff team in a bad division. They can, however, turn it into that - just a single dud - with a very important win on Friday against Chicago at the American Airlines Center. Bring your friends.
A few other thoughts on a forgettable night after the jump...
- Loui Eriksson adds 24 and 25 to his goal scoring totals tonight, but the tallies were perfunctory and came only after they trailed 5-0. Somehow Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder get +2's out of all of that tonight. That's pretty impressive.
- It had been 20 games since the Stars gave up five or more goals. For a team that did it with regularity in the middle part of the season, that's a good stretch. The Stars had allowed just 15 goals in their last 11 games heading into this one. We'll hope it's an aberration, and not the beginning of a bad stretch. One and done.
- Looking at this game and only this game, you'd have to say something Richard Bachman. He was not great, as I'm sure he'd tell you. That goal off his helmet was emblematic of the night: Things were just not going their way and the Jets were just the recipients. The rebounds were troublesome and I'm sure he'd like to have the Fehr shot back, but, the team as a whole was out-hustled and he bore the brunt of it as a result. He'll live to fight another day and his contributions to this run still stand.
- Can Adam Burish turn out his pockets and wear his helmet backward? The guy is putting himself in great positions to score lately, regardless of who his line mates are, and is so very, very close. A team that cannot manufacture offense all of a sudden could sure use the help he's so close to providing. It will be interesting to see what the league thinks of his harmless mischief in the third.
- The Jets are terrible on the road and finish with seven of ten away from MTS Center. Their road to the playoffs didn't get much easier tonight, as they're still four points out of 8th with all those road games coming up, but those people sure did seem excited about it.
- I do like their uniforms, I must say. Those are some of the best uniforms in the NHL. Simple. Classy. The colors aren't too bright/offensive. Well done, Winnipeg.
- For the third time this season the Stars earned exactly zero power plays. The Jets did get one power play goal when a point shot hit Bachman's mask and bounced down and in. It was a fluke, and the penalty kill shouldn't worry about it too much moving forward.
- Odds Toews makes his big return on Friday night?
- Shake this one off. If they come out strong on Friday night and get super Kari Lehtonen in net then they'll be back on track to find the six additional wins they desperately need to qualify for post-season play.