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Dustin Byfuglien's three-point night lifts Winnipeg over Dallas 7-2

Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 11:05 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Dustin Byfuglien's three-point night lifts Winnipeg over Dallas 7-2

WINNIPEG - Dustin Byfuglien had two goals and an assist and Blake Wheeler added four assists as the Winnipeg Jets kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 7-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.

The win pulled the Jets to within four points of the Stars for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, although Dallas has two games in hand.

Jacob Trouba, Michael Frolik, Evander Kane, Ollie Jokinen and Tobias Enstrom also scored for the Jets (31-29-9), who managed to snap a six-game winless streak that crippled their playoff chances. Jokinen and Enstrom each added two assists in the team's highest-scoring game of the season.

Alex Chiasson and Tyler Seguin scored first-period goals for the Stars (32-24-11), who had earned points in their previous four games.

The Jets scored the next six goals after Seguin had given the Stars a 2-1 lead 7:02 into the game.

Tim Thomas started in goal for Dallas, but stopped just 13 of the 17 shots he faced and was pulled after Jokinen's goal 29 seconds into the second period made it 4-2.

Cristopher Nilstorp, a 30-year-old with five NHL games to his credit, came off the bench and allowed three goals on 17 shots. The Stars lost regular starter Kari Lehtonen to a concussion on Mar. 8.

Al Montoya, starting in place of the injured Ondrej Pavelec, survived a shaky start and finished with 25 saves on 27 shots, including an Erik Cole breakaway that could have given Dallas a two-goal lead.

After a wide open first period, the Stars mustered only three shots on goal in the second as the Jets built a 5-2 lead.

Jokinen found himself all alone in front of the Dallas net after a pass from Wheeler and scored on a shifty deke to chase Thomas from the game.

Then Byfuglien blasted a hard shot from the point on the power play to make it a three-goal lead.

The defenceman-turned-forward scored again early in the third — his 19th of the season — and moments later, nearly became the first Jet to record a hat trick since the team relocated from Atlanta, but was stopped on a breakaway by Nilstorp.

The eventful evening for Byfuglien ended with him leaving the game with a lower-body injury midway through the third period.

After Trouba opened the scoring at 3:11, the Stars took only four minutes to grab back the lead. Chiasson poked the puck under Montoya after the netminder appeared to have control of a point shot. Then Seguin notched his 30th of the season after a pass from rookie Valeri Nichushkin.

Frolik tied it after a giveaway from Stars defenceman Alex Gologoski, and Enstrom deposited a pass from Wheeler past Thomas to give the Jets the lead for good.

The Jets travel to St. Louis for a game Monday night, while the Stars are in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Notes: The Jets were also without centre Jim Slater (lower body) and forward Chris Thorburn (ankle), who were both injured on Friday night in a loss to the New York Rangers. … The NHL announced that the Stars will host the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 9 to make up the game that was suspended on Monday when Dallas forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the team's bench. The game will be 60 minutes, and will start with Columbus holding the 1-0 lead they had prior to the medical emergency.

Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic