Stars Face Jets in Final Regular Season Matchup

After splitting their first two games, division rivals end their season series way to early.

For those of you who decided to hit the road early on Wednesday night, I’m sorry. At least you can catch the last 10 minutes on a game replay. As for the first 50 minutes - I understand why you thought that there were better things to do.

Speaking of which, Rick Bowness hockey returns to the American Airlines Center just in time for you to sleep off your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Welcome back chip and chase, keeping play to the outside of the rink and generally lockdown hockey of the kind that Dallas Stars fans “enjoyed” for the last several years.

These teams have already faced each other twice, and the team that scored first gave up the only other goals during the rest of the game. In the third game of the year, Dallas won 4-1 behind Jake Oettinger. Winnipeg returned the favor against Scott Wedgewood, 5-1, when the Stars visited Manitoba on November 8.

The Jets are exactly what you’d expect. Connor Hellebuyck is putting up Vezina quality numbers. Outside of that, Winnipeg rides their top pairs on defense and top two lines up front. Recent injuries have made this more apparent, with Mason Appleton and Morgan Barron (wrist surgery) and Nikolaj Ehlers (sports hernia surgery) out - all in November.

The defense hasn’t escaped either, with Logan Stanley going down with a minor foot fracture and Dylan Demelo day to day with an upper body injury.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Mason Marchment (27) – Tyler Seguin (91) – Denis Gurianov (34)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Joel Kiviranta (25) – Radek Faksa (12) – Luke Glendening (11)

Miro Heiskanen (4) – Colin Miller (6)
Ryan Suter (20) – Nils Lundkvist (5)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpaa (2)

Jake Oettinger (29)

The Stars are on the first game of a back-to-back, with the team travelling to Colorado to face the Avalanche on Saturday night. Karlstrom will likely draw in one game, but based on morning line runs, it won’t be against the Jets. It is also likely that Scott Wedgewood will draw in for Saturdays game against Colorado.

Winnipeg Jets Lineup

Kyle Connor (81) - Mark Scheifele (55) - Sam Gagner (89)
Cole Perfetti (91) - Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) - Blake Wheeler (26)
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (71) - Adam Lowry (17) - Saku Maenalanen (8)
Jansen Harkins (12) - David Gustafsson (19) - Michael Eyssimont (23)

Joshua Morrissey (44) - Neal Pionk (4)
Brenden Dillon (5) - Nate Schmidt (88)
Dylan Samberg (54) - Ville Heinola (14)

Connor Hellebuyck (37)

Keys to the Game

Goaltending. This game features two of the best netminders in the NHL. Either one has the potential to steal a game.

Top Lines. The Stars have an advantage here, with Robertson/Hintz/Pavelski putting up some of the best numbers in the league. But the Jets top line is superb, and there are a few players in the lineup who have been Stars killers in the past.

Team Depth. Dallas will continue to roll four lines, especially with the back-to-back games. The bottom of the Stars lineup needs to produce for the team to take advantage, and the entire team needs to take advantage during the times when they face the Jets bottom forward line and defensive pair.