DALLAS, Texas - After missing nine games with an upper-body injury, Adam Lowry returns to the line-up tonight as the Winnipeg Jets take on the Dallas Stars for the second time in four days tonight.
The 24-year-old skated in his usual centre position at this morning's skate, with Andrew Copp and Brandon Tanev on the wings.
"You look at what Tanev and Copp have done in the last few games, and the last little bit they've certainly been playing really well with Matthias there. Hopefully I can just slide in and keep their line going," said Lowry. "You look at what Brandon brings with his tremendous amount of speed and he's on pucks. It seems like his motor never stops. Copp is real responsible defensively. He's good with the puck down low and can make some plays. Just reading off their strengths, go to the net, and hopefully be able to get one."
Video: PRE-GAME | Bryan Little
The Jets won round one of the four total match ups the two divisional opponents will play this season by a 5-2 score at Bell MTS Place on Thursday.
Tonight though, the venue is American Airlines Center, where the Stars have won five straight games, including Saturday's 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Dallas scored four goals in the opening 20 minutes to pave the way to that victory, chasing Robin Lehner from the net with three of those goals in the opening 10:27.
But Bryan Little says the team can't focus too much on how the Stars play at home.
"It's more how we come out and how we handle things. That's always been what we talk about. We don't really put too much focus on the other team," said Little. "It's more of how we're going to play and how we're going to come out. I think we're looking for kind of a regroup game after last game. It wasn't our best effort. Now that we're on the road, we want to start the trip right."
Video: PRE-GAME | Shawn Matthias
With Lowry back in the fold, this morning's line rushes looked like this.
Head coach Paul Maurice says he's going to evaluate how Lowry is performing in the face-off circle before deciding if the centre will jump back into his duties on the penalty kill.
The main thing in Maurice's mind is the trio of Copp, Lowry, and Tanev give him another option to go up against the opposing team's best.
"Mark Scheifele's line is going to draw, on a lot of nights, the 'A' group. They'll go power on power," said Maurice. "But if you're doing well in the game, there's going to be a change, and you've got to find another line that can play against the other team's best. That's what we over the last couple of years have been developing Adam to do."
Video: PRE-GAME | Adam Lowry
The Stars line-up will also look different than Thursday's match-up in Winnipeg. Both Radek Faksa and Tyler Pitlick were injured in the win over Buffalo and won't play tonight.
Dallas will get Martin Hanzal back tonight, after the centre missed the last three games with a lower-body injury.
While the Jets hold a 3-0-0 record against Central Division opponents this season, the Stars have struggled, going 1-4-0 thus far.
But Maurice knows regardless of record, divisional match-ups like this one never get easier.
"Divisonal games, you don't need to play the team back-to-back to have that memory. The games that Dallas and Winnipeg have played have always kind of looked a little bit the same," said Maurice. "There's some pretty good rush chances that go both ways. Both teams' theme coming into the year was to be better defensively. There is some skill on the special team units for sure.
"There's an edge. You've got two captains squaring off and getting after it (last game), both skill players, so there's an edge to these games, which make them really exciting."
Video: PRE-GAME | Paul Maurice
Connor Hellebuyck will start in goal for the Jets, looking to improve on his 7-0-2 record and 0.932 save percentage. Ben Bishop will be between the pipes for Dallas with puck drop set for 7:30 pm CT.
After skating on his own the last few days, Mathieu Perreault joined the team after the line rush portion of today's morning skate.
The 29-year-old hasn't played since suffering a lower-body injury in a win over Carolina on Oct. 14.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets embark on a three-game road trip through the southwest tonight against the Dallas Stars...The Jets fell 5-4 in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night to finish a two-game homestand, but have still earned a point in seven consecutive games (4-0-3)...After three days off, the road trip continues on Friday against the Vegas Golden Knights and Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes, which is the front half of a home-and-home set...The Jets welcome the Coyotes on Nov. 14 when Dale Hawerchuk will be inducted into the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame.
Jets vs. Stars Notes
- The Jets went 4-1-0 against the Stars last season and have won six of the last seven meetings.
- The Jets are 12-8-1 against the Stars since the franchise moved to Winnipeg in 2011.
- The Jets have scored at least four goals in each of their last five games against Dallas, outscoring the Stars 26-10.
- Mark Scheifele has 20 points (10G, 10A) in an nine-game point streak against Dallas.
- Blake Wheeler has 25 points (7G, 18A) in 23 career games against the Stars.
- The Jets have had a player score a hat trick in three of their last four games against Dallas.
For the second time in as many games, the Jets scored multiple power play goals in Saturday's tilt against Montreal by going a perfect three-for-three...It's the second time since 2011 that Winnipeg has gone 3-for-3 on the power play in a game, matching a performance from Feb. 21/12 vs. PHI, which was also a 5-4 overtime loss...The Jets are 8-for-23 (34.8%) in the power play in their last seven games.
Against the Central
After going 19-8-2 against its Central Division counterparts last season, Winnipeg is a perfect 3-0 against the Central to start this season...The Jets tied for a share of the best record in games played within the Central Division last season, as the Chicago Blackhawks also went 19-8-2 in divisional games...The Jets also had a winning record against every Central Division team, except the Minnesota Wild (1-4-0)...Only seven of Winnipeg's first 31 games this season are against a Central Division opponent and two of the seven games are against Dallas.
Finding a Way
Since March 13/17, the Jets have a 17-5-4 record, which is third-best in the NHL...Winnipeg has earned 73% of the possible 52 points in the 26 games...Fourteen of the 26 games been decided by one goal...The Jets haven't lost any of those 14 games in regulation going 10-0-4.
Saturday's loss dropped Winnipeg's record to 0-3 in games decided in overtime this season...The Jets are 2-9 in the last 11 games they've played that have been decided in overtime...Since the 3-on-3 overtime format was introduced for the 2015-16 season, the Jets are 7-14 in games decided in overtime.
Give Some, Take Some
The Jets had season-high 20 giveaways to five takeaways on Saturday, finishing with a season-worst -15 giveaway/takeaway differential...It was an usual extreme for Winnipeg, as the Jets have averaged 10.5 giveaways a game and 7.8 takeaways a game this season.
Captain Blake Wheeler tallied a goal and an assist on Saturday for his second consecutive multi-point game and third multi-point outing in his last four games...He has nine points (4G, 5A) in his last four games...Wheeler had a team-leading five multi-point games this season...Since the 2011-12 season, Wheeler has a franchise-best 97 multi-point games, which is 14th in the NHL since that time.
Defenceman Tyler Myers (1G, 3A) is on a four-game point streak, which is the longest by a member of the Jets this season...It's his longest point streak since Dec. 15-22/15 when he had two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (7-0-2) continues to stretch his franchise record for consecutive points earned to start a season...He faced a career-high 50 shots and made a career-high 45 saves Saturday against the Canadiens...Hellebuyck has posted seven quality starts (sv% in game above league average) in nine starts this season, which is tied for eighth in the NHL...Hellebuyck is the only goaltender in the NHL that has made at least nine starts and is undefeated in regulation...His .932 save percentage is sixth in the NHL among qualifying goalies.
Patrik Laine had a goal in Thursday's win against Dallas to run his scoring streak against the Stars to a perfect six games...He has 13 points (9G, 4A) in six career games against the Stars, including a pair of a hat tricks last season...Laine's 13 points against Dallas is by far the most he's scored against one team during his career, as his six points (5G, 1A) against the Toronto Maple Leafs is second.