Stars Flex Power Play Muscle, Whip Jets


107. 5. 119. Final. 2

The Dallas Stars put on their most impressive special teams display of the season, scoring four power play goals on eight tries, as they defeated the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 5-2 on Saturday night. The win wraps up a three game road trip that saw the team collect four points.


Goalie Ondrej Pavelec was given a spell for the evening as the Jets started Michael Hutchinson. This surely resulted in a collective sigh of relief in the Dallas locker room, since in their last tilt Pavelec stopped 46 of 47 en route to a 2-1 Winnipeg win. Patrick Eaves has kept up his impressive play since his return from injury. On the Stars’ first power play of the game, he “sopped up the gravy” (as Razor so eloquently put it) by knocking in a rebound from Tyler Seguin’s shot. Kari Lehtonen looked like his elite self for the first period, making a couple tough stops against odd-man rushes. The Stars would finish the frame with a 11-10 advantage in shots, but it was the Jets who were slightly more aggressive. The Stars’ defense had to collapse quickly a couple times and allowed the Jets some nice scoring chances, but one of those sequences was responded to with an equally impressive attack on Dallas’ part.

For the first ten minutes of the second period, the puck existed almost exclusively in the Dallas zone. The Jets were demonstrably forceful with their intentions, as they put up 15 shots before Andrew Ladd tied the game with a wrister past Lehtonen. The goal followed a painfully long offensive sequence for the Jets, as Dallas was left gasping for breath for the second time. Head coach Lindy Ruff used a timeout earlier in the frame to give his guys some oxygen.

The remainder of the second would belong to Dallas, however, as the Jets would sap their own momentum with ill-timed penalties. Mathieu Perreault’s hi-sticking call went without consequence, but immediately afterward Zach Bogosian headed to the bin with a slashing minor. The Stars would regain the lead when Shawn Horcoff redirected a shot from Ales Hemsky. It was Horcoff’s first power play goal of the season. Dustin Byfuglien took a delay of game with 1:58 left, and Jason Spezza would tally to make it 3-1 heading into the third period.

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  • The Stars had no trouble getting back to work in the third, as John Klingberg would score the Stars’ only 5-on-5 goal of the night with an arcing wrister that caught Hutchinson off guard and slipped between his legs. Klingberg would score another goal with 11:20 left, this one a one-timer on the power play that brought the score to 5-1 Dallas. With four points (2 G, 2 A), Klingberg would emerge from the game as the highest-scoring rookie defenseman in Dallas Stars history. The Jets brought the deficit to three with seven minutes left, as Toby Enstrom punched in a slap shot. Lehtonen plead that he had been interfered with, and the replay clearly showed Blake Wheeler jamming the goalie’s glove with his stick as the puck crossed into the crease, but the marker would stand.

    Thoughts and Observations

    With the win, the Stars pulled even with the Avalanche at 53 points with a game in hand. The Kings dropped one in Boston, so if the Flames lose in a late matchup tonight against the Oilers the Stars will sit only two points out the final Wild Card spot.

    John Klingberg has entered himself as a dark horse candidate for the Calder Trophy. The Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad, first overall pick in 2014, is the only rookie d-man with more points. Klingberg now has 24 points in 35 games, while Ekblad has 28 in 47.

    Disregarding the first ten minutes of the second period, the Stars played the type of game that, if played on a nightly basis, will yield long runs and many more points in the standings. Even though they dropped a hard-fought game in Montreal, this recent road trip has been perhaps the most consistent three game stretch all season. Lehtonen is keeping the mental errors down, the defense has been adequate, the power play is clicking, and the offense is doing what most fans have expected all year.

    The Dallas Stars return home to host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. Check back to Blackout Dallas for more news and updates!