Winnipeg Jets 7 Dallas Stars 2 (Jets 31-29-9, Home 16-14-6) – The seven goals is the most the Jets have scored in a game this season, while the win snaps a six game winless streak, and a five game home winless streak. It also moves the Jets to within four points of Dallas and Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the West. The Jets had gone 12 games scoring three or fewer.
The Jets lost Ondrej Pavelec, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn to injury Friday vs the New York Rangers, so Coach Paul Maurice had to do some line juggling. The line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Michael Frolik stayed intact, with Blake Wheeler, Olli Jokinen and Dustin Byfuglien as a unit. Evander Kane was on the left side with Eric O'Dell and Devin Setoguchi, while Matt Halischik, Patrice Cormier - up from St. John's) - and Anthony Peluso made up the fourth line. Michael Hutchinson, also up from the Ice-Caps, backed up Al Montoya.
Jacob Trouba with his 8th of the year opened the scoring at 3:11, the assist to Wheeler. Dallas scored two goals 37 seconds apart to take a 2-1 lead, Alex Chiasson at 6:25, Tyler Seguin his 30th at 7:02. Frolik with his 14th got the Jets even and also seemed to get the team going again. Toby Enstrom had the only assist on the goal at 11:54. Enstrom followed that up with his eighth of the year at 17:02 to regain the lead for the Jets. Wheeler and Cormier assisted on the tally. Shots in the first were 16-10 Jets. At one point the Stars were outshooting the Jets 6-2.
Olli Jokinen scored 29 seconds into the second to make it 4-2. The goal chased starter Tim Thomas with Christopher Nilstrop coming in. The goal was Jokinen's 16th of the season, with assists to Wheeler and Byfuglien. The Jets made it a 5-2 game on a power play goal by Byfuglien at 16:30 of the period, his 18th goal of the season, seventh on the power play and 23rd power-play point on the teams 33 power-play goals. Enstrom and Jokinen assists on the goal. Shots in the second were 8-3 Jets.
The Jets put the game away in the third. Byfuglien scored his 19th from Wheeler and Jokinen at 3:14 and Kane his 16th unassisted at 7:33 to snap an 11 game goalless drought. Shots in the third 14-10 Jets and over the game 34-27 Jets.
For Wheeler, the four assists tied a career high for points in a game. He also had four assists in February of 2012 against Colorado. Wheeler has only one goal in the last 14 games, but does have 11 assists in that span. The two goals and one assist by Byfuglien give him 6-2-8 in the last five games and 9-9-18 since the move to right wing. Enstrom and Jokinen also had three-point nights, each a goal and two assists. Cormier drew an assist on the Enstrom goal, his first point as a Jet. The win for Montoya was his 11th of the year.
Byfuglien led the team with seven shots on goal before leaving late in the third due to injury. He is expected to play Monday night in St. Louis (TSN Jets, TSN 1290). Enstrom was a team high plus four, while Zach Bogosian led in ice time at 21:57. O'Dell won eight of 13 face-offs. Frolik extended his point streak to four, while Little had his stopped at four.
Jets power play was one for six, penalty kill a perfect two for two to run the streak of successful kills to 17 for 17.
This post-game from Montoya, "I've been waiting for this chance, so am going to enjoy it and get ready for tomorrow against one of the best teams in the league." Montoya was not overly busy, but the Jets did give up some first period breakaways forcing Montoya to make some big saves at key times.
Post-game from Coach Maurice was asked about Byfuglien leaving in the third. With a smile on his face this was his answer. "He thought if he got the third, he would get too much attention. Didn't want to get shadowed on the ice. We expect him to be fine for tomorrow. He's been our best player, he's excited for these games."
On getting back in the win column, "Earlier we were winning on compete and emotion. Now our game has gotten better. It's really important for a young team to have success in a big game. Getting down early and then coming back and being very good"
The game in St. Louis ends three in four nights for the Jets, but with a home game Wednesday against Colorado are still in a five games in eight days stretch.