With a win to send them into the All-Star break and then a trampling of Toronto, the Dallas Stars are on the hunt for their third win in a row as they continue their homestand.
The break seems to have done the Stars a world of good, but remembering their record after a win, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that they are finally ready to make the most of the rest of the reason.
Fox Sports Southwest (FSSW) and 1310AM/96.7FM The Ticket will be broadcasting the game. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT from the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
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Records and Scores
The Stars are sitting on a 21-20-10 record, officially starting part two of the season off with a home win when the Leafs came to town. With multiple other teams cooperating well by facing losses on the same night, the Stars advanced to just four points from third place in the Central Division, and only three points from the last Wildcard spot in the Conference.
The Winnipeg Jets are at a 24-25-4 record with several games out of hand against the Stars. However, they are a significant rival this season and are tied with the Stars for fifth place in the Conference with 52 points each.
Checks and balances
The Stars have been getting some help from other teams lately as they’ve made some advancements on that last Wildcard spot. The Predators and the Blues both lose on Tuesday, so the Stars’ win against the Leafs had double importance.
Tonight, if the Blues should happen to fall again, whomever wins at the AAC tonight could find themselves in a playoff spot. The Blues are on a bit of a bumpy ride, with the firing of their coach mid-season. So with some great play on the Stars’ part, tonight could just swing in their favor.
The Jets have done reasonably well against the rest of the Central this year, with a 12-4-1 record against them and a 6-4-1 road record. Though the Jets scored the second most goals of any NHL team in the month of January- 54- they also gave up the most, with 47.
Sounds like a vaguely Stars-esque philosophy, doesn’t it? In their last game, the Stars were determined to score early and often, so much that when the Leafs started producing and playing their game, the Stars were too far ahead to catch. Tonight, we’ll perhaps get to see which team is better at the same game.
Power to the players
The Stars have had a small problem with giving up petty penalties that turn into power play goals for their opponents. The Jets, too, have the highest occurrence of shorthanded situations in the third period, having allowed 64 power plays in that time.
Since the third period is often the trouble-child for Dallas, they could use this shortcoming to their advantage by playing smart and not giving up penalties, but being wise in drawing them, especially in the third period, to bolster their lead or mount their comeback attempts.
Watch out for streakers
The Jets have several players to watch tonight. Mark Scheifele has moved into fifth in overall NHL scoring, and has yet to not score back to back points in games since early December. He and Patrik Laine both scored in their victory over St. Louis on Tuesday, while Bryan Little is riding on a 6 game points streak.
The Dallas Stars are making their way back to the “we can always outscore you” era. Since that seems to be the Jets’ current gameplan too, expect it to be a high-scoring game… or, if the goalies are prepared for this outcome, a very low scoring one! Either way, I have the Stars pulling ahead 4-2 to extend their win streak to three.