Stars-Jets Preview

The Dallas Stars seemed to have a capable offense when they were

one of the NHL’s hottest road teams not long ago.

Now they’re struggling to score as they continue a key trip

against Central Division opponents.

The Stars hope to turn things around Saturday against a Winnipeg

Jets team that’s giving up goals at a high rate during its worst

home losing streak in five years.

Since scoring 21 times during a six-game road win streak last

month, Dallas (14-11-5) has totaled eight goals while dropping

three of four away from home.

The Stars, in a three-way tie for last place with 33 points,

fell to 2-6-0 in the Central after opening a three-game swing

against division clubs with a 3-1 loss at Nashville on

Thursday.

”These are big ones,” defenseman Alex Goligoski said. ”We

have two more big ones on this road trip to turn it around. Not the

way we wanted to start it, but that’s the beauty of hockey. You

have to prove it every day.”

Dallas outshot the Predators 34-30, but Erik Cole provided the

only goal in the first period. Despite the team’s slump on the

road, Cole has scored in three straight and four of the last five

away from home.

Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn teamed for three goals and four

assists in a 4-1 victory in the last meeting in Winnipeg on Oct.

11. Dallas’ top two scorers, however, haven’t produced a goal in

their last nine combined road games.

The Jets (14-14-5), who also have 33 points, may be able to

tighten things up defensively after allowing 17 goals over a

five-game home skid – their worst since moving to Winnipeg in

2011.

The franchise hasn’t had a longer one since dropping seven

straight in Atlanta from Nov. 20-Dec. 18, 2008.

Winnipeg held a 38-26 advantage in shots, but Ondrej Pavelec

surrendered three goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to visiting Colorado

on Thursday. Pavelec is 0-2-2 with a 2.90 goals-against average in

his last four home starts.

After giving up four goals in the first meeting this season,

Pavelec bounced back with 35 saves in a 2-1 shootout win in Dallas

on Oct. 26.

Blake Wheeler had the only goal in the home loss to the Stars,

and he’s hoping to build on his first multi-goal effort of the

season. He scored twice Thursday, including a power-play goal in

the third period that sent the game into overtime.

”Our division, our conference, isn’t easy,” said Wheeler,

second on the Jets with nine goals. ”There aren’t any easy

games.”

Though it has scuffled at home, Winnipeg has gone 8 for 23 (34.8

percent) on the power play in the last six games there. That

doesn’t bode well for a Dallas team that has given up a power-play

goal in six consecutive road games.

Kari Lehtonen, who played for Atlanta from 2003-09, could get a

chance to face the Jets for the third time this season after

stopping 58 of 59 shots while going 1-0-1 in the October

meetings.

The Stars are 12-2-2 all-time against the Atlanta/Winnipeg

franchise.