DALLAS, Texas - With the festivities of the Heritage Classic behind them, the Winnipeg Jets (2-3-0) focus is on this week's home-and-home series with the Dallas Stars, which gets underway tonight in Texas.
"The Heritage Classic was a great experience. Everyone had a lot of fun and a lot of us had family and friends in town," said Shawn Matthias.
"That was great, but that's over now. So now it's back to work again tonight and we need the two points."
Video: PREGAME | Shawn Matthias
Like the Jets, the Stars (2-2-1) are coming off a shutout loss (3-0 to Columbus) in their last outing. Injuries have taken their toll on the Dallas forwards. Patrick Sharp, Cody Eakin, Mattias Janmark, Jiri Hudler, and Ales Hemsky will all miss tonight's game with various ailments. Patrick Eaves is probable after taking part in the morning skate, while Jason Spezza will be a game-time decision.
Head coach Paul Maurice says the Dallas line-up has little do with his team's preparation for tonight.
"It might change certain match ups that you have to look up. You've got (Jamie) Benn and (Tyler) Seguin as of right now split up, so that changes maybe our prep and how we're thinking about match ups and those things," said Maurice. "But we're on the road, so that won't be the first order of business."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
While the Stars have been forced to make line-up changes, the Jets will make some of their own tonight.
Maurice will keep rookie Kyle Connor out of the line-up tonight, but insists he's liked what he's seen from the 19-year-old defensively. He believes Connor can learn a lot about where to use his dynamic offensive capabilities that made him so successful in the NCAA, against NHL opponents.
"They're used to a higher rate of creation of offence from where they came, because they were able to. It's a completely different style of game than they're used to playing," Maurice said. "You saw with Patrik (Laine) as well, places where you used to try guys one-on-one, you can't get away with that in the NHL, so you have to be more selective of where you're trying to create your offence."
With Connor out, Chris Thorburn draws back in for his second game of the season. Mark Stuart also skated alongside Ben Chiarot, and also looks to return to game action.
Video: PREGAME | Chris Thorburn
Winnipeg is scheduled to play against Central Division opponents in three of their next four games. Not only is tonight a chance to bounce back from Sunday's loss to Edmonton, but a chance to even up the team's record against division foes. Currently the Jets are 0-1-0 against the Central, and want to improve on last season's 11-16-2 mark within the division.
"The mood in this room is good. We're all still confident. We feel good. We've been practicing hard," said Matthias. "I would expect a really good Winnipeg Jets team tonight."
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets face their second road test of the season tonight when they visit American Airlines Center to take on the Dallas Stars…The Jets were shutout 3-0 by the Edmonton Oilers in Sunday's 2016 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg…Dallas enters tonight's game having lost their last two games, both at home…The two teams complete the back half of this home-and-home set Thursday night at MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
We Meet Again
This week's home-and-home series against Dallas is the first of three home-and-home sets the Jets will play this season and first of four occurrences on the schedule in which Winnipeg will play the same team in back-to-back games…All of the back-to-back games against the same opponent occur before the Christmas break.
Tonight's game marks the beginning of a three games in four nights stretch for the Jets and four games in six days…The busy end to October is a precursor for a November schedule that has the Jets playing 16 games in 29 days, 10 of which are on the road…Winnipeg is still in an opening set of games in which it plays seven of 10 games at home, but will follow that by playing 10 of 13 games on the road.
Up Against It
The Jets are giving up 3.8 goals against per game this season, which is tied for the fifth most in the NHL…After allowing four goals in each of their first four games, Winnipeg allowed a season low three goals to Edmonton on Sunday…Winnipeg is being outscored 11-1 in the second period this season, which is the most goals allowed and fewest scored in the second period by a team in the league this season…The Jets are outscoring their opposition 7-4 in the third period.
Not So Special Teams
Winnipeg is tied for 25th in the NHL with a power play success rate of 10% (2-for-20)…Rookie forward Patrik Laine has scored both of Winnipeg's power play goals this season...At 68.9%, the Jets penalty kill is second last in the NHL, but are 6-for-8 (75%) in the last three games.
- The Jets have trailed going into the third period in all five of their games this season.
- Through five games, the Jets have played with the lead a total of 17:02.
- Winnipeg is 45.2% (141-for-171) in the face-off circle this season, which is second last in the NHL.
- The Jets have been outshot in four of their five games to start the season…The only time Winnipeg outshot its opposition was Oct. 17/16 vs. BOS 35-25 in a 4-1 L.