The Dallas Stars were too much for the Winnipeg Jets Monday night as they overcame a slow start en route to a 4-1 win.
The Jets struck first, but they once again faded in the second period as the Stars scored four unanswered goals to hand the Jets their first loss in their first road game of the young season.
“They really did a really good job of slowing us down through the neutral zone,” said associate coach Scott Arniel who once again filled in with head coach Rick Bowness recovering from COVID-19. “Took away our forecheck. Whether they took it away or we didn’t get our second guy in there as quick. We weren’t really a five-man forecheck like we had been in the first.
“We got back on our heels and they were coming with speed at us more in that second and third than we were going after them.”
The Jets are now winless in their last seven trips to Texas dating back to early in 2018.
Mark Scheifele scored the Jets’ lone goal to give him three markers in the first two games.
But special teams let the Jets down in their first contest of a three-game road trip. The Stars sealed the victory with a power play goal in the third period, while the Jets failed to score with six minutes of power play time in the final 10 minutes of the game, and they were 0-for-5 on the man advantage for the night.
“We weren’t able to execute,” said Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey. “We had some good looks later on in the game, but I thought kinda as you alluded to in that second period when it could’ve went either way if we would have got one. We weren’t able to put one in, but again, it’s early. We’ll look at ways we can improve there as well.”
The Jets looked like the superior team in the early going, but the Stars flipped the momentum in the middle frame, outshooting the Jets 11-6.
“In the second period, we talked about it, they quick up a lot of pucks,” said Jets forward Adam Lowry. “They get a lot of chances off the rush like that. It’s going to be one of those good learning experiences for us.”
The visitors wasted little time opening the scoring. Just 3:28 into the first period, Kyle Connor skated the puck into the Stars end and sent a perfect feed to Scheifele, who blasted it past Jake Oettinger for his third goal of the young campaign.
But just past the midway point of the frame, the Stars drew level. After a turnover in the Jets end, Ty Dellandrea found Tyler Seguin alone in front of Connor Hellebuyck, and the veteran made no mistake.
The game stayed tied for a while as each side struggled to create high-quality opportunities, until an unlikely source broke the deadlock.
With less than 4:30 to go in the second, a blast from Jani Hakanpaa eluded Hellebuyck to give Dallas the lead. It was just the eighth goal in 145 career games for the big Finnish blueliner.
Less than two minutes later, the Stars tacked on an insurance marker. After a mad scramble in front of Hellebuyck, the Jets couldn’t clear the puck, resulting in a one-timer off the stick of Joel Kiviranta to make it 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Miro Heiskanen put the game on ice with a power play marker in the third, his point shot redirecting off the leg of Brenden Dillon and past Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck made 25 stops in the loss while Oettinger denied 23 of 24 shots in the victory.
The Jets now head to Denver for a date with the defending champion Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night. Puck drops just after 7 p.m. with pregame coverage on 680 CJOB begins at 5 p.m.