Dallas Stars Empty The Tank, But Cannot Pull Out Win Over Jets

The Dallas Stars gave it their all tonight in a divisional matchup against the Winnipeg Jets, but came up just short in a 4-3 loss. This loss really puts a damper on the Stars in regards to the playoff hunt.

It was an entertaining game for sure. But the Dallas Stars could not overcome their early mistakes and fell just short in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. This loss officially snaps the Stars’ four game points streak and drops Dallas to 21-21-10 on the year.

Game recap

The first period was filled with a little defense and a lot of chances for both sides. Bryan Little got the scoring started for the Jets, only to be met with goals from John Klingberg (PPG) and Jamie Benn on the other side of things. Mark Scheifele scored in the dying seconds to tie things at 2-2.

The second period started with a goal in Winnipeg’s favor that was called off due to offsides. Scheifele quickly scored again though to take the lead for the Jets and Nikolaj Ehlers followed it up with a goal of his own to take the 4-2 lead. Patrick Eaves tallied a goal late to cut the deficit to one entering the third.

The Dallas Stars, though they fought extremely hard and created multiple good chances in the final frame, could not tally a goal to get it back to even and fell to the Winnipeg Jets in a crucial game that really hurts them in the standings.

Thoughts and Observations

They gave everything they had, and then some

First off, the Dallas Stars have to be given a lot of credit. They “emptied the tank,” as head coach Lindy Ruff might say.

Throughout all of tonight’s game, the Stars consistently hounded the puck, controlled possession, and created some excellent chances. At the end of the night, the Stars had outshot the Jets 42-29. They were aggressive, they had a lot of energy, and they took it to the Jets.

There are plenty of things that you could blame the loss on tonight: a bad night from Kari Lehtonen, loose defense in the first period, or poorly-timed penalties that led to a 5-on-3 goal. But the Stars gave it their all to claw back into the game. It was a step in the right direction. But losing the two points really stings.

Pavelec had his best game in a long time

Ondrej Pavelec has never been known as a “solid” starting goaltender. In fact, he recently lost the starting job with the Jets that he had owned for six seasons.

Now he’s the backup, and tonight was only his sixth game of the year. And it was no doubt his best game of the year. He finished the night 39-42 for a .929 save percentage. That’s his best performance since April 3, 2016.

He made a couple of unreal saves in the game, including one on a Jamie Benn breakaway and one with Tyler Seguin on the doorstep. Tonight just happened to be the one night where he turns it on and shuts down the crease.

The Captain is back

Jamie Benn’s play was exquisite tonight, even when factoring in the loss. That’s because for 60 minutes, Benn was doing everything he could to keep the Stars in the game. The Captain finished the night with a goal and two assists, along with a +1 rating and five shots on net. He had two hits, won 100 percent of his face-offs, and skated 18:23.

He now has a five game point streak and is starting to heat up. While it would have been nicer to see him catch fire in mid-October, it’s better late than never. There are still 30 games left in the season, and if Benn continues to play as he has been, the Stars will have a much better chance at walking away with two points.

Stars sadly got a taste of their own medicine

The “blown out but still win” phenomenon giveth and the “blown out but still win” phenomenon taketh away. On Thursday night, the Dallas Stars were thoroughly outplayed and outshot 43-20 by the Toronto Maple Leafs. But the Stars’ cashed in on accuracy and made every chance count, and they routed the Leafs 6-3 as a result.

But tonight, the Stars could not get the W even though they were the team outplaying the opposition. It’s a give-and-take situation and it stinks that the Stars had to lose on the night when they game mattered the most.

Spezza down for the count

After being rocked by a massive hit in the third period, Jason Spezza exited the game and did not return. In the post game conference, Ruff said that the injury would “probably be more than days.”

That really throws a wrench in the dryer considering the Stars were finally finding some consistency and power on offense. A shuffle will likely be required and could severely mix Dallas up.

Looking ahead

The Dallas Stars will close out their six-game homestand on Saturday night with a date against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Stars’ biggest challenge will likely be trying to replicate tonight’s performance and even step it up a notch against a powerful Chicago team.

If they cannot, then Saturday night could turn ugly in a hurry. This loss definitely put a shadow over the Dallas Stars. It will now be their job yet again to climb out of the pit and get back on track in the Western Conference playoff race.

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