The MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, home of the Winnipeg Jets, is well known as a “hornet’s nest” for visiting teams, with the Jets having one of the best home records in the NHL. They proved it throughout the first period of their game versus the Dallas Stars tonight. Dallas was out shot, out played, out worked, and worst of all, they were out scored. Nik Antropov sent a devilish wrister over Bachman’s shoulder just 2:21 into the game, giving the Jets a 1-0 lead they would hold until the end of the period. The situation didn’t improve as Evander Kane grabbed a rebound and scored to give the Jets a 2-0 lead, once again early in the period, this time just 1:19 into the middle frame. The Stars couldn’t bounce back and Eric Fehr capitalized on Adam Pardy’s miscue to put the Jets up 3-0. Just 47 seconds later, Andrew Ladd buried another one giving the Jets a 4-0 lead halfway into the second period. The shellacking continued as Dustin Byfuglien added a power play goal towards the end of the period, but the Stars at least broke the shutout bid with Loui Eriksson’s 24th of the year with 3:31 remaining in the middle frame, making the score 5-1 heading into the final period. The third period proceeded relatively calmly, but Loui Eriksson scored another goal late in the game, making things look a bit less ugly at 5-2. The end of the game was then marred with fisticuffs and a rash of penalties as emotions got the better of the teams, the highlight being Burish throwing a Jets glove into the stands. After the mess was sorted out, the game’s final minutes ticked off the clock, ending the game with a 5-2 Jets victory.
What It Means:
We should all do our utmost to just forget this game ever happened. The streak had to end sometime. Did it have to end in such brutal (and embarassing) fashion? No, but beggars can’t be choosers and the Stars are going to have suck this up and prepare to keep the playoff push going. Depending on the outcome of tonight’s tilt between Phoenix and Vancouver, the Stars can either still be 4 points ahead, or the gap can be closed to just one game. Either way the Stars will remain on top, making Friday’s contest against Chicago one of the biggest games of the year thus far. After the hottest stretch of the season, it’s going to be extremely interesting to see how the Stars bounce back from such a discouraging loss. Game notes:
- The penalty kill finally relented against one of the best home power plays in the NHL. They were 2/3 on the night.
- Phillip Larsen went down early in the first period with what looked like a nasty lower leg injury, but managed to return to the lineup briefly in the second before being shut down for the rest of the game.
- The Stars record in back-to-backs is now 1-10-2
The Stars return home to Dallas to face the Chicago Blackhawks in a Friday night match up. The Stars are 2-1 against the Hawks thus far this year, and Friday’s game will be the final meeting for the two teams, unless they meet in the playoffs, a very real possibility. The AAC is sure to be packed so get there early to see your Stars continue the playoff push.