Dallas Stars Continue Road Trip in Winnipeg

The Dallas Stars are on the road again tonight with another chance at two points against a Central Division rival. Can they put down the Winnipeg Jets again?

The Dallas Stars will take on the Winnipeg Jets tonight on the road in hopes of earning two points. Puck drop is set for 7PM CT.

Records and Scores

The Stars (4-5-3) most recently fell to the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday night in overtime, 4-3. They had established a two-goal lead midway through the game, but saw it vanish before their eyes and ended up scratching and clawing their way back into it. Then after a number of offensive chances in overtime the Stars still couldn’t get it done and the Hawks capitalized to end the game. Dallas earned a point, but is going for two tonight in Winnipeg.

The Jets (5-7-1) fell to the New York Rangers Sunday night, 5-2. They surrendered four goals against in the middle frame alone and will look to correct their defensive mistakes at home tonight as they host the Stars.

Storylines

Smith Shines

The Dallas Stars are going through the biggest injury troubles the team has seen in a very long time. That’s the main issue they’ve been struggling to overcome, but it has revealed some hidden gems.

Forward Gemel Smith has really taken advantage of being called up from the Texas Stars and looks to have no intention of returning to the AHL once as the injured players return. The 22-year-old is willing to do just about anything to stay in the NHL and his performance Sunday night only makes the case of keeping him in Dallas that much stronger.

Smith tallied his first and second NHL goals in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Hawks, including the game-tying goal late in the third period. He utilized his skill to score both goals and looks to be making a statement in the league.

Dallas might not have known what Smith is capable of had players not been injured. So amongst all of the darkness of injuries at the forward position, something good has come out of it. The hope now is that the young gun can continue down the path he’s on.

Playing Stars Hockey

Dallas was in a bit of an identity crisis to start the season. A number of forwards were injured and they couldn’t seem to find the back of the net, despite their best efforts. That prompted a reminder from head coach Lindy Ruff about what the Stars should focus on.

He pointed out that without players like Patrick Sharp and Cody Eakin, the Stars aren’t going to be the same. They’re going to have to be what he called gritty, not pretty.

That’s a difficult concept to grasp for a team that is constantly looking for the perfect pass, but it’s the honest truth. Dallas was able to work on the gritty side of their game in the home-and-home with the Hawks, but unfortunately didn’t get the result they wanted.

Tonight the focus will be to keep their grit factor up, without sacrificing leads and defensive zone coverage.

Injuries

The Stars will be without Patrick Sharp (concussion), Ales Hemsky (groin/hip), Mattias Janmark (knee), Jiri Hudler (illness) and Cody Eakin (knee) in tonight’s game. Jason Spezza (undisclosed) may play tonight or may sit this one out.

The Jets will be missing Bryan Little (lower-body), Tyler Myers (lower-body), Drew Stafford (upper-body), Mark Stuart (lower-body), Shawn Matthias (upper-body), Joel Armia (lower-body) and Mathieu Perreault (upper-body) from their line-up tonight.

Line Combinations

Dallas Stars

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselRadek FaksaJason Spezza (questionable)

Lauri KorpikoskiDevin ShoreBrett Ritchie

Curtis McKenzieGemel SmithAdam Cracknell

Esa LindellJohn Klingberg

Johnny OduyaStephen Johns

Dan HamhuisJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Winnipeg Jets

Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Sheifele – Blake Wheeler

Brandon Tanev – Alex Burmistrov – Kyle Connor

Nicolas Petan – Adam LowryPatrik Laine

Marko DanoAndrew CoppChris Thorburn

Josh MorrisseyDustin Byfuglien

Tobias Enstrom – Paul Postma

Julian Melchilori – Ben Chiarot

Connor Hellebuyck

Michael Hutchinson

Prediction

The Dallas Stars will find a way to beat the Jets on the road by a score of 5-3.

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