DALLAS - Two of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League face off tonight at American Airlines Center, as the Winnipeg Jets (13-8-1) take on the Dallas Stars (12-8-2) in the final game of a four-game road trip.
The Jets and the Stars are two of the three teams tied with seven wins in the month of November, the most in the NHL.
A victory tonight would also give the Jets all eight possible points on the trip after wins in Florida, Tampa Bay, and Nashville.
"We're pretty satisfied with how this road trip has gone," said Nathan Beaulieu. "We want to end on a high note and we know they took us for one (point) at home not too long ago. It's definitely in the back of our minds. It's two hot teams and we're excited."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
The two teams met earlier this month at Bell MTS Place with the Jets earning a 3-2 overtime win. That is the only point the Stars have lost over their last nine games, going 8-0-1 in that span and 11-1-1 in their last 13.
"The systems haven't changed, their identity hasn't changed, but everything happens a little faster and a little stronger," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice of the Stars. "They're certainly very confident with the puck, not a lot of risk in their game, but their defence is very active. You talk about when a team is feeling good, they're feeling good."
Despite the fact Andrew Copp and Blake Wheeler didn't take part in Wednesday's practice, both will play tonight. Maurice will stick with the same line-up as the one that produced the 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators two nights ago:
Beaulieu played 16:16 against the Stars back on Nov. 10 and says the additions of Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski have made the Dallas offence even more dangerous.
"They've been offensively dominant over the last couple years. They added even more this off season with Perry and Pavelski and guys like that who can finish and are good around the net," said Beaulieu. "We're more focused on our game tonight. We're playing really inspired hockey right now. We just have to keep it the same way."
Video: PREGAME | Nathan Beaulieu
But Maurice has noticed the biggest change in how the Stars play defence. As a group, Dallas has allowed 52 goals, the fourth fewest in the league.
"Their back end was all over the ice and they were hard to handle, but you were always in a game with them because you were going to generate chances," Maurice said.
"Now most of that has gone away. There is no easy offence here."
Those numbers are enough to give any team confidence, but the Jets have a lot to feel good about as well.
The five straight road wins they've earned tied a franchise record, previously done twice during the 2017-18 season.
"Our games have been tight, as you'd like to think road hockey is played," said Maurice. "We're certainly not arrogant in our room in the way we play. The other teams had their chances but we've stayed in the fight as we have really all year. We're a confident group, but there is certainly no arrogance in our game."
Video: PREGAME | David Gustafsson
Overall, the Jets are 4-1-0 against the Central Division and 10-1-1 in one-goal games, setting the stage for a fun tilt between the two clubs tonight.
"Another tough challenge again tonight against a team that's obviously really hot," said Beaulieu. "We definitely owe them one and we'd like to do it here in their building."
Connor Hellebuyck, who is 5-1-1 in his last seven starts, gets the call in goal for the Jets while Ben Bishop will counter for the Stars.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm CT, but Maurice knows his players will be locked in much earlier than that, given how well both teams have been playing.
"The players all have an awareness that these guys are on right now and you're not catching them on an off night, and they're not struggling with any part of their game," Maurice said. "In some ways, I don't know if it's easier to motivate your team, but you certainly have their attention when they come to the rink."
-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
The Winnipeg Jets finish a four-game road trip tonight against the Dallas Stars...The Jets are a perfect 3-0-0 on the trip after a 2-1 victory against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night...Following tomorrow's game, the Jets return to Bell MTS Place to host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night before embarking on a three-game road trip in the Pacific Division next week.
Nov. 19 at NSH - 2-1 W
Jets Scorers: Laine (5), Ehlers (10)
Predators Scorer: Bonino (9)
Jets Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (38 sv, 1 ga)
Predators Goaltender: Juuse Saros (23 sv, 2 ga)
Jets PP: 0-for-2
Jets PK: 2-for-2
Recap: Patrik Laine scored 18 seconds into the game and Nikolaj Ehlers tallied the game-winning goal in the second period, as the Jets beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Tuesday night...Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves, as Winnipeg was outshot 39-25...Ehlers led the Jets with five shots, while Dmitry Kulikov had four blocked shots.
Three Stars: 1. Hellebuyck 2. Ehlers 3. Bonino
READ THE GAME NOTES
The Jets are tied for the NHL lead with 54.9% of zone starts in the offensive zone and are sixth in the NHL with a 51.4% face-off winning percentage...The Jets had 53.9% offensive zone starts last season, which is a franchise record since the stat has been kept since the start of the 2007-08 season...Nikolaj Ehlers leads the Jets with 67.3% offensive zone starts.
The Jets (7-1-1) are tied with three other teams, including the Dallas Stars, for the most wins in November with seven...Winnipeg is eighth in the NHL with a 85.7% penalty kill during the month...Kyle Connor leads the Jets in scoring with 11 points (3G, 8A) in nine games in November, while Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers have a team-leading four goals...Connor, Ehlers, and Scheifele each have two game-winning goals.
On the Road Again
The Jets are 8-3-0 on the road this season and have won five consecutive road games, which has tied a franchise record previously done twice (Feb. 23-Mar. 8/18 and Nov. 24-Dec. 14/18)... The Jets are in the midst of playing eight of 10 games on the road...The eight games are being played across three time zones and on both coasts...Including the Heritage Classic in October, the Jets have five four-game road trips this season.
Tuesday was Winnipeg's NHL-leading 10th victory by one-goal this season...Eight of Winnipeg's past nine wins have been by one goal...At 10-1-1, 12 of the Jets 22 games this season have been decided by one goal...All but three of Winnipeg's 22 games this season have been decided by two goals or less.
Tomorrow marks Winnipeg's sixth game of the season against a Central Division foe...The Jets are 4-1-0 against divisional opponents this season...The Jets are 9-4-0 against the Western Conference this season, which leads the NHL in wins against the Western Conference.
Nikolaj Ehlers has scored in three consecutive games...It's the seventh goal scoring streak of his career that's three games or longer...He's had a career high four-game goal scoring streak twice - Dec. 31/16-Jan. 7/17 and Dec. 7-14/17...In leading the Jets with 10 goals, Ehlers is averaging a career high .45 goals per game.
Solid Between the Pipes
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has stopped 69 of 73 shots (.945 save percentage) in his two starts during the road trip...He's tied for fourth in the NHL with a .930 save percentage...Hellebuyck has allowed two goals or less in 11 of his 17 starts this season (9-1-1, 1.34, .960).
Nikolaj Ehlers is tied for eighth in the NHL in road scoring with 14 points (8G, 6A) in 11 games, while Mark Scheifele is tied for 10th with 13 points (4G, 9A) in 11 games...Kyle Connor (3G, 8A) and Patrik Laine (2G, 9A) are also averaging a point per game or better on the road with 11 points in 11 and nine games, respectively.
How the Jets Were Built
Drafted (14) - Appleton, Connor, Copp, Ehlers, Gustafsson, Hellebuyck, Laine, Little, Lowry, Morrissey, Poolman, Scheifele, Spacek, Roslovic
Trade (3) - Beaulieu, Pionk, Wheeler
Free Agency (8) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Luoto, Perreault, Shaw
Waivers (2) - Dahlstrom, Sbisa