A Saturday matinee was just what the doctor ordered for the Dallas Stars last Saturday in defeating the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 5-1, and perhaps this afternoon's meeting with the Winnipeg Jets will prove just as fruitful.
They hope so, because they're kind of pressing right now.
Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have had their moments this season, and plentiful ones at that, but the gaps between are costing the team. Benn's own drought is the subject of much talk, but Ray Whitney knows it's a team-wide problem.
"There is pressure there, because if we want to win, we have to have secondary scoring," he told the Dallas Morning News Friday. "I mean, I look back at some of these games, and if I could have scored a goal or the power play could have scored a goal, it would have been a different outcome."
Dallas has now dropped 7 of their last 10 (3-4-3) and sit tied at 33 points with both Winnipeg and Nashville in the Central Division's basement.
From Stars PR: "The Dallas Stars are playing their second game in Winnipeg this season on Saturday afternoon, and just their third since they relocated from Atlanta. In their previous meeting at MTS Centre, the Stars defeated the Jets 4-1. It was Dallas' first victory in the city of Winnipeg since Feb. 28, 1995, a span of 18 years, 7 months - or just five days before Stars rookie VALERI NICHUSHKIN was born (March 4, 1995)."
The puck drops just after 2:00pm CST on TXA-21, and CBC for our friends in the white lands north of the border.
Dallas has tried everything on the power play, to little success, and now may turn an eye in part to the AHL's leading goal scorer in Colton Scevious, who has 18 tallies in just 26 games. The Stars ran special teams units almost exclusively Friday, and used Sceviour in front of the net on one of their units.
"We're going to take a look at it," Ruff said of using Sceviour on the power play. "We went through the game and we had seven or eight really good chances and didn't score again, and that's the spot he plays down there. We'll give him a shot and take a look."
Dallas didn't run lines on Friday, so that's a bit of a crap-shoot as always. The Stars did greatly out-possess the Predators on Thursday so keeping things largely the same, perhaps switching out Sceviour for Jeffrey, could be in order.
Ryan Garbutt went through an entire practice after missing some time with his foot injury, so he seems to be on the mend. Aaron Rome, according to Mike Heika, performed well enough on Thursday that he'll remain in the lineup this afternoon.
Vern Fiddler remains out, though practiced Friday and is crossing his fingers on a Monday return in Colorado.
Winnipeg recently returned from a succesful six-game road trip again, surprise, all Eastern Conference opponents. A 4-2 record, including wins agains the Rangers and Islanders, hasn't carried over to success at home, where Winnipeg has dropped consecutive games to stiffer competition in Colorado and St. Louis.
They fell to Colorado in a shootout, and held the Blues to just two in a one-game loss, and as such cannot be taken lightly by a floundering Stars squad.
Dating back to November 18th the Jets have dropped five straight at MTS Centre, and so, like the Predators before them, are looking to use Dallas' visit as a return to their accustomed home-ice advantage.
The Jets may not be great at home lately but the do one thing extremely well- That which beat the Stars on Thursday: The power play. They've scored eight power play goals in their last six home games (an embarrassment of riches for anyone, exaggerated that much more in comparison to Dallas' single tally at hone this year...).
The talk in Winnipeg is about Evander Kane's recent injury, as it seems he may return today to action today:
Evander Kane was back at practice with the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
Jets head coach Claude Noel wasn't sure if one practice would be enough to have Kane ready to go for the divisional matchup against the Stars.
"Normally we go a little longer for that," said Noel. "Nothing's changed. You want to try and set a player up to succeed. And I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that right now." [Winnipeg Sun]
Their lineup, or something like it:
Ondrej Pavelec should be in net.
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