In desperate need of two points, the Winnipeg Jets got halfway there on Wednesday night in Dallas.
Tyler Seguin scored the winner 54 seconds into overtime as the Stars knocked off the Jets 3-2 in a game in which Winnipeg was outplayed for most of the night.
Despite being badly outshot, the Jets had a one-goal lead in the third period, but the Stars tied it up with six minutes remaining and then won it early in the overtime period.
Seguin’s overtime goal was originally disallowed by the referee, but it was later ruled the puck crossed the goal line after they took a closer look at the replay.
“I thought the guys in front of me were allowing me to see pucks and were battling hard,” said Connor Hellebuyck. “I thought the OT goal might be a high-stick, but that’s just unfortunate, sometimes bad luck, and I don’t know, when you look back at this game – it was almost enough.”
It was the Jets third straight loss. Winnipeg managed just 22 shots on goal and had more than a 10-minute stretch in the third period where they didn’t record a single shot.
All three meetings between the two sides this season have gone to overtime.
“It’s a hard-fought game obviously,” said defenceman Josh Morrissey. “Trying to protect a one-goal lead, and I think we maybe sat back a little too much for the period. It was a long time to sorta sit back. I think that’s where you got to keep pushing.”
It was the fourth straight victory for the Stars who are still above the Jets in the Central Division standings.
The loss dropped the Jets five points back of the Stars, and it leaves Winnipeg six points out of a playoff spot.
“It’s tough,” said Hellebuyck. “It’s tough cause I want it so bad and I want to make playoffs really bad. And I know everyone in the room does too, and it’s hard not to watch the standings. I know we’re taking it game-by-game, but it’s tough when we just keep losing so close.”
After being held pointless in his last three games, Mark Scheifele broke out of his mini-slump with a goal and an assist. Blake Wheeler scored the Jets only other goal, while Neal Pionk recorded a pair of helpers.
Wheeler opened the scoring 7:14 into the first period off a nice transition play started by a great outlet pass from Brenden Dillon. Dillon hit Scheifele in stride, he left it for Pionk jumping up in the rush, and he found an open Wheeler in the slot to snap a run of six straight games in which Winnipeg had allowed the opening goal.
After each team whiffed multiple times on the man advantage in the second, it was Dallas who would find the equalizer while shorthanded. Pionk turned the puck over at the offensive blue line, springing the Stars on a 2-on-1. Roope Hintz gave a perfect pass to Jamie Benn, who outwaited Hellebuyck before sliding it five-hole to tie things 1-1 after two periods.
Dallas also held a 26-16 shot advantage after two, and that disparity grew in the third, but it was Winnipeg who took the lead after a controversial moment.
With the Jets on a power play just over four minutes into the third, Scheifele caught Benn with a high stick to the face that went uncalled. Benn fell to the ice and lost his stick, and before he could get back in the play, Scheifele wired a one-timer past Jake Oettinger as boos rained down from angry Stars fans.
Dallas pushed hard for the equalizer and finally got it at the 13:35 mark. Denis Gurianov went completely unchecked going to the net in transition and Tyler Seguin hit him in stride for a tap-in goal.
Neither side was able to finish it off in regulation so for the third time this season, the Jets and Stars needed overtime.
Less than a minute into the extra frame, Josh Morrissey got free deep in the Dallas end but was denied by the paddle of Oettinger, and moments later the Stars got the winner.
Hellebuyck made the initial save off a Seguin shot but Seguin batted the rebound out of the air, sending it towards the goal line. It was initially called no goal but after review, officials determined the puck crossed the line, ending the game.
Hellebuyck was fantastic in net for the Jets, stopping 36 shots while Oettinger was much less busy, turning aside 20 shots in the win.
Nate Schmidt appeared in his 500th career NHL game.
Kristian Reichel did not dress after being placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. Kristian Vesalainen took his place in the lineup after being a healthy scratch against the Calgary Flames. Nathan Beaulieu returned to the lineup in his first game since getting injured back on January 27. Logan Stanley was scratched to make rook for Beaulieu’s return.
Winnipeg will try to snap its three-game losing streak Friday night in Colorado, where they lost 7-1 in their last visit to Denver in January.