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Stars’ Light Dim In 4-1 Loss To Winnipeg Jets

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It was a very ugly game, and we have questions.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Another game in which the Dallas Stars met the Winnipeg Jets, another game in which all Stars efforts to generate any kind of offense felt impossible. A shaky start and bad first period were more than enough for Dallas to dig a hole they couldn’t come back from, and they’ll take no points out of yet another important conference matchup.

Many Stars fans could feel that the game wasn’t going to go their favorite team’s way when Ben Bishop, screened by a Jet in front, let in the first goal less than 30 seconds into the game. He’d let in two more, one of a similar kind and one over his shoulder on the penalty kill.

He settled down in the final two periods, but the bad start in the first period allowed Winnipeg to grind out the remaining 40 minutes and collect the win.

From what I’ve seen in these two contests versus Winnipeg, the Jets do a very good job of clogging up the blueline, and that prevents the Stars from entering the zone with any kind of speed. It also keeps them from being able to generate multiple chances on a zone entry. It’s frustratingly effective, as evidenced by the Jets’ 5-0-1 record when leading after two heading into tonight.

I don’t think this Dallas Stars team is built solely for the “chip and chase” style that they’ve had to employ against the Winnipeg Jets so far this season. That is something that has been dictated by the way in which the Jets have played the Stars, absolutely smothering each puck carrier and taking away a lot of the space they’re used to having against other teams.

Whenever Dallas was able to pull them off that game plan, they looked much more dangerous offensively - and the Jets looked much more fallible. Unfortunately, they didn’t do that nearly enough to make a difference in the game tonight.

Of course, that’s not the only issue that the Stars faced tonight. But it is one of the fundamental issues that caused big problems for Dallas. Instead of dictating play, they let the Jets take the game to them in both contests this past week.

What we’ve learned from that is that Dallas doesn’t have a lot of success in those situations. But you’re not going to be able to dictate the play every game, and good teams figure out a way to fight through it and generate offense in different ways.

Dallas couldn’t do that tonight. Give all credit to the Jets. They were the better team, and they got the result that proves it.

The top line guys in Dallas are continuing to make things happen, converting on the first power play chance the Stars have received versus Winnipeg this season. John Klingberg tied the league lead in scoring by blueliners in the contest tonight (though that could change with other games going on, of course.)

Yet again the depth scoring wasn’t there. They struggled to generate quality time in the offensive zone for much of the game. Even strength scoring was non-existent. They let in some poorly timed goals.

It’s just two contests of many against Central Division opponents. But the fact that Dallas has taken away zero of those points is concerning – and the trends that have many worried about the ability of this team to succeed (such as the lack of 5-on-5 scoring, to start) are approaching the “no longer explained away as result of small sample sizes” territory.