The Winnipeg Jets returned home with a flourish and gave their playoff push a boost.
Andrew Ladd scored twice to help the Jets beat Dallas 5-2 Wednesday night, snapping the Stars’ six-game winning streak.
Nik Antropov, Evander Kane and Eric Fehr also scored for the Jets, who moved four points behind Washington for the eighth and last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
”As the home team we feel like if we can get on top of teams early and get momentum and get the crowd in it, then that first goal’s huge and we’ve been able to do that a lot lately,” Ladd said. ”Sometimes I think we play our best hockey against the top teams. We seem to get up for those games and simplify more and get away from the cute stuff.”
Fehr was making his debut on Winnipeg’s hard-checking fourth line in place of the injured Chris Thorburn, and coach Claude Noel was pleased with his effort.
”We happened to score a little more than we probably anticipated,” Noel said. ”I thought we generated things that we wanted to do. We caught them on a back to back.”
Loui Eriksson had both goals for Dallas. The Stars, who won 1-0 at Minnesota the previous night, dropped to 1-10-2 in the second games of back-to-backs.
However, Dallas goalie Richard Bachman didn’t want to use that as an excuse against a Jets team that was playing after a four-day break.
”I mean, obviously Winnipeg played a great game,” he said. ”They were moving the puck and they were good in transition. I think them having a little bit of rest their legs were moving extremely good.”
A couple of shots went in off his head.
”I think there were times when I was tracking it pretty well and reading the play pretty well and other times when I just wasn’t clicking.”
With the Stars trailing 5-0, Eriksson spoiled Ondrej Pavelec’s shot at a fifth shutout this season with 3:31 left in the second period. Eriksson closed the scoring with his 25th goal of the season with 3:44 to go in the third.
Antropov got Winnipeg going at 2:21 of the first period on a crisp wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that seemed to catch Dallas goalie Richard Bachman off-guard.
Kane then struck early in the second to make it 2-0, slapping in Alexander Burmistrov’s rebound at 1:19.
The Stars looked tired as they tried to keep up with the Jets, who were drawing energy from the packed house screaming ”Go Jets Go.”
Fehr scored his second goal of the season on a breakaway at 8:28 of the second period.
”I like to pretend I’ve done it before,” he said with a laugh after the game when asked why he wasn’t celebrating his rare goal little more. ”It definitely felt good and it turned out to be an important goal for the team.”
Less than a minute later, Ladd was fed his own rebound by center Bryan Little and banged it in to make it 4-0.
Ladd then tipped in Dustin Byfuglien’s hard drive from his own blue-line 13 seconds into Winnipeg’s second power-play chance of the night at 3:48 to go in the period.
Eriksson got the Stars on the board 17 seconds later.
The last few minutes of the game were marred by a scuffle involving several players that gave Winnipeg one more power-play opportunity. The melee with 2:47 remaining resulted in 10-minute misconducts to Dallas’ Vernon Fiddler and Winnipeg’s Tanner Glass and a game misconduct to the Stars’ Adam Burish.
”Tanner Glass went to pick up his glove and Burish was dragging it over to the box,” Noel said of how the tussle started. Burish then threw it over the glass into the crowd.
”I think Tanner Glass thought `I’m not going to put up with that,”’ Noel said.
Notes: Blake Wheeler entered the game with a four-game scoring streak that didn’t go any further but he picked up two more assists to boost his team-leading points total to 58. … It was the Stars first regulation loss since Feb. 19.