Jets flying high with Stars on deck

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 8:20 PM

The Winnipeg Jets are once again on a roll.

Meanwhile, the sledding has been rough as of late for the Dallas Stars.

The surging Jets can record a fifth straight victory by handing the host Stars their third consecutive defeat in a matchup of Central Division title contenders on Thursday night.

At the moment, Winnipeg and Dallas are tied atop the division standings with 79 points. However, the Jets have four games in hand over the Stars and three over the third-place Colorado Avalanche, who have 77 points.

Even amid concern about the franchise’s sagging attendance figures, Winnipeg is one of the hotter teams in the NHL, winning seven of its past eight following an 0-4-1 rut.

The Jets have outscored their opponents 17-10 during a winning streak that reached four games with Tuesday’s 4-2 home win over the St. Louis Blues.

Winnipeg prevailed despite allowing 38 shots on goal and recording just seven in the third period. It also failed to score on the power play for the second time in three contests.

“We are understanding the situation,” Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon said. “And even when we’re not playing our best, we’re still finding a way to win.”

Winnipeg star Kyle Connor has set a club record with three straight game-winning goals and has scored five times while also totaling six assists during a six-game point streak, which has followed a stretch in which he had just one point in eight contests.

Connor, however, was limited to a single point as the Jets lost the first two meetings with Dallas this season.

While Dallas looks to remain perfect against the Jets this season, it has been outscored 24-13 during its current 1-3-3 stretch. The Stars were rocked 5-1 at Colorado on Tuesday, which marked a fifth consecutive game in which they were held to two or fewer goals.

“You’ve got to have a short memory in this league and get ready for the next game, and the next game is a really important one,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said.

The Stars’ Roope Hintz is tied for the team lead with 23 goals but has gone five straight games without a point. He also has just one point over his past three games vs. Winnipeg.

Fellow Dallas standout Jason Robertson has just two goals over a 14-game stretch overall, but he has eight goals and three assists in nine career contests against the Jets.

Meanwhile, Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger has a 3.50 goals-against average during his current 1-2-2 stretch. For his career, however, Oettinger is 4-0-1 with a 2.18 GAA against the Jets.

“We’ve got a great opportunity to turn this around. It’s going to take every guy in here to do that,” Dallas captain Jamie Benn said.

Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck has stopped 45 of 50 shots in the two games vs. Dallas this season. He owns a 2.17 GAA with a .932 save percentage while winning five of his past six starts.

The Jets’ Mark Scheifele has five points in the past two games, but he has only a single point in the past three against the Stars.

–Field Level Media