Fresh off their four-game home stand, proud owners of a five-game point streak, the Dallas Stars tested their mettle against the Jets this afternoon in Winnipeg. This game is the first of a three-game road trip.
The Jets currently occupy the second place in the Central Division and had quite the run heading into the Christmas break. Since then, they’ve had one win in the last four games, which came against the Edmonton Oilers on New Year’s Eve.
The first period remained scoreless, but that’s mostly thanks to the heroic efforts of Ben Bishop and had little to do with the play of anyone else on the Stars roster. The shots were 13-9 Jets, but the Jets had more action in the high danger area in front of the Stars net. They also had the two best scoring chances during this first frame, where Bishop went sprawling but still managed to rob the Jets of the goal.
The biggest difference in these two teams through the first was control of the puck. The Jets had way more of it, especially in their zone entries and exits. This has long been a thorn in Dallas’s side, and throughout the first there was no consistency in their movement through the neutral zone.
The Dallas Stars got the first chance at the power play as Adam Lowry knocked Bishop over behind the net. An iffy penalty call on what was surely an accident, but who wants to look a gift horse in the mouth? Especially when they convert the man advantage to a 1-0 score.
A John Klingberg shot goes off Radulov's toe and pass Hellebyuck and the Stars are out in front first.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) January 6, 2019
WPG 0 DAL 1 pic.twitter.com/PRDGe0DarU
John Klingberg took the shot from the blue line, which redirected off of Alexander Radulov’s toe and became his goal. Tyler Seguin had the secondary assist, which is mentioned only because it’s his 300th career assist.
Unfortunately for the Stars, Lowry then had something to make up to his team. Despite the Stars in general playing better in the second than the first, Jets were still able to keep the puck in the Stars’ zone following the power play goal and Lowry walked up on Bishop and cleaned up his own rebound for a goal.
Adam Lowry equalizes exactly a minute later as he gets a puck in front of Bishop and puts it past to even the game back up.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) January 6, 2019
WPG 1 DAL 1 pic.twitter.com/i62VLayzTU
Again, the Stars had a better outing in the second period, but the score still remained tied at one for most of the frame. With a little over a minute to go, Patrik Laine left the puck along the boards for Tyler Myers, who then managed to wrap around the net for a goal before Bishop could get his pad down to seal the crease.
Laine interchanges with Meyers and he wraps it around Bishop and it goes five hole and into the net.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) January 6, 2019
WPG 2 DAL 1 pic.twitter.com/CBZOHWNNab
This was only their fifth shot on goal. A frustrating outcome for a period in which the Stars did actually improve aspects of their game.
A little over a minute into the third, Kyle Connor scored his first in several games. That’s the same Kyle Connor who had a 30 goal season in 2017-18 and whom the Stars passed over in the 2015 draft in favor of Denis Gurianov.
Kyle Connor scores from the slot after a blocked shot and the Jets are up by two.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) January 6, 2019
WPG 3 DAL 1 pic.twitter.com/6VP67WsFrV
The teams both had penalties in the third, two for the Jets and three for the Stars. Jim Montgomery pulled Bishop for the extra attacker with just over five minutes to go in the third, but that led to a 200-foot empty netter for Josh Morrissey, making the score 4-1.
Morrissey goes bullseye in the middle of the net from 180 feet away.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) January 7, 2019
WPG 4 DAL 1 pic.twitter.com/Fm7T95OqzU
The Stars’ third penalty happened with less than two minutes to go in the game. Roman Polak added to his already team-leading number of penalty minutes and sat out the end of that absolute barrage, giving the Jets one more goal, this time on the power play.
The Stars continued to take penalties when they could least afford them, and continued to have little ability to enter or exit zones with any control. Superhuman goal tending can only cover so much, and the Stars are certainly testing that limit.
The road trip continues in St. Louis on Tuesday night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Central.