Turnover. Goal. Turnover. Goal. Round and round the game went tonight. The Dallas Stars didn't look settled from the beginning of this road game, and when you play a hungry team with nothing to lose, they'll take advantage of that real quick.
Give credit to the Jets, they played their game plan perfectly. They took the play to Dallas, and forced the Stars out of position. They created their own offense as well as capitalizing on Dallas' own puck problems. Winnipeg also played the Stars forwards very physically, and made them earn every inch of ice. The problem is, Dallas wasn't able to change their way of playing to accommodate a physical game, and it kept them from establishing their own brand of hockey. Just like in other games past, the result when that happens wasn't a good one for a team that now sees themselves barely hanging onto the last wild card spot in the west.
From about the second minute of the game onward, the Stars struggled to maintain possession of the puck. They couldn't protect the puck. Too many passes to nowhere and turnovers. More turnovers. More missed passes. It led to the Jets' first goal, a shot by Jacob Trouba that beat Tim Thomas glove side. Thomas looked really angry with his positioning on that one.
Alex Chiasson got the tying goal in somewhat ugly fashion, as he was able to shovel the puck through Al Montoya as he was in the front of the net. Tyler Seguin would net his 30th goal of the season on a pinpoint backhand shot to take the lead. It'd end up being one of the only bright spots for the Stars in the game tonight, as they'd let Winnipeg storm back to take the lead 3-2 by the end of the first twenty minutes.
Going in only one goal down isn't enough to hang your head, as we've seen the Stars fight back all season long in similar situations. Olli Jokinen would deliver the dagger to the Stars just 0:29 into the second period, and Thomas would be pulled out of the game at that point. The rest of the period would be spent seemingly in their own zone as turnovers and puck protection continued to allude the Stars. Scary moment in the second period when Brenden Dillon blocked a shot and limped over to the bench not putting any weight on his leg. He'd come back
Yes, a third period had to still be played even though the Stars were all but done at the start of the third. The Stars would take away one positive out of the game -- they killed 5-of-6 power plays, including a decently long 5-on-3. Captain Jamie Benn would commit several penalties out of frustration, earning himself an eventual misconduct late in the period. Antoine Roussel would also cause some shenanigans at the end of the game and be removed from the ice.
Other thoughts on tonight's game...
- Alex Chiasson had probably the best game by a forward in the puck possession department. He also looked strong on the puck, which helped him to keep possession and push play. He was rewarded for his strong play lately with a much deserved goal.
- Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley had forgettable games on the back end. Granted, the forwards weren't providing a lot of support, but Goligoski had several complete whiffs on easy clears when he wasn't even under pressure. As he goes, so does this team....and he didn't go well tonight.
- Colton Sceviour did not play like we are used to seeing from his short stints with Dallas lately. His defensive game left something to be desired (but he wasn't nearly alone in that department and it's just one game.)
- This is one of those games you just flush down the toilet and move on immediately from. It's just one game. If the trends from it continue into the next, then we can start to be concerned.
- Can't wait for Kari Lehtonen to be back. This team needs a strong goaltending tandem down the stretch.