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GAMEDAY: Jets at Stars

7:30 pm CT - TV: TSN 3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

DALLAS - Nathan Beaulieu will be back in the Winnipeg Jets (17-10-1) line-up tonight as the team faces off with the Dallas Stars in the back half of a home-and-home set.

Given the fight and 18 total penalty minutes in the third period between the two teams on Tuesday, Beaulieu couldn't be happier that he's ready in time for the rematch.

"It doesn't take much to get up for these games," he said after the morning skate. "We know how important these points are. We've played these guys three times in the last two or three weeks. It's going to be a battle. It's going to be a grind. It's been like that every time, very physical and demanding. I'm excited to get back in there."

Video: PREGAME | Nathan Beaulieu

Beaulieu has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury he sustained blocking a shot against the Columbus Blue Jackets on November 23.

A shot deflected off his stick and rolled up and caught him on the hand. It's actually the second time that's happened to him in his career. The first time, it rolled up and caught him in the throat.

But if presented the opportunity to block a shot tonight, the defenceman says there will be no hesitation.

"You just have to do it. You forget about it," Beaulieu said. "Say you block 200 shots, a lot of them are going to hurt. But a lot of them don't break bones. You just have to think that way. You can't shy away from it. I feel like if you do shy away from it, that's when you get injured. So just be confident with it."

Video: PREGAME | Neal Pionk

With Beaulieu back in, Carl Dahlstrom will come out of the line-up after playing each of the last two games. Luca Sbisa will play as well, even after leaving Tuesday's game in the third period.

Head coach Paul Maurice likes what he's seen from Dahlstrom in those last two outings.

Regardless of the defencemen patrolling the blue line, Maurice said they all face the same challenge from the opposition. It's something that has come up in video numerous times this season.

"The game plan against them has been pretty clear, not just from Dallas, but from all teams - they're going to put a lot of pucks deep and try to get heavy on that forecheck," said Maurice. "Our breakouts under pressure have improved dramatically over the year in part because of the volume, we've had a chance to practice it. These are important things to learn. It helps you identify your game.

"The Western Conference is heavy and we have to learn to play as fast as we possibly can. One of the things we've been good at is weathering the storm of it when we've needed to and played a very simple game early."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

The rest of the Jets line-up will remain the same, as Nick Shore - claimed off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday - will watch this game from above.

It's unclear how the defensive pairs will work out as the Jets held an optional morning skate at American Airlines Center, but the forward lines will look like this:

Connor-Scheifele-Laine

Ehlers-Wheeler-Roslovic

Copp-Lowry-Perreault

Luoto-Gustafsson-Shaw

The Jets expect a different kind of challenge from the Stars (15-11-3) than what they faced on Tuesday night at Bell MTS Place.

In a literal sense, this Stars group will be different as Alexander Radulov will not be in the line-up. He took his 15th minor penalty of the season on Tuesday and had three shots on goal at Bell MTS Place. Justin Dowling will be in Radulov's place.

In addition, the Stars are 9-4-1 on home ice and have only allowed 28 goals at American Airlines Center, the third fewest in the NHL.

The simple fact these two match-ups are so close together changes how the Jets have prepared for tonight's game.

"Your pre-scout changes completely," said Maurice. "Instead of just the next team, it's 'what are the adjustments they're going to make, what was good in your game?'" Maurice said. "It feels like you're coaching a little bit more, more like a playoff series because you're trying to anticipate adjustments to their game as well."

Connor Hellebuyck gets the call in goal for the Jets, while Ben Bishop counters for Dallas.

Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm CT.

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

Game Notes

The Winnipeg Jets visit the Dallas Stars tonight in the second half of a home-and-home set...The Jets beat the Stars 5-1 on Tuesday night at Bell MTS Place in the first game...After tonight's game, the Jets return to Winnipeg to host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday afternoon.

Last Game

Dec. 3 vs. DAL - 5-1 W

Jets Scorers: Ehlers (13), Connor (11), Morrissey (3), Laine (8), Scheifele (10)

Stars Scorer: Heiskanen (7)

Jets Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (27 sv, 1 ga)

Stars Goaltender: Anton Khudobin (25 sv, 5 ga)

Jets PP: 0-for-3
Jets PK: 3-for-3

Recap: The Jets broke the game open with three goals in the second period en route to a 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night...Kyle Connor led the Jets with a goal and two assists, while Nikolaj Ehlers, Patrik Laine, Josh Morrissey, and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist...Blake Wheeler led the Jets in the face-off circle by winning 18-of-21 face-offs (85.7%)...Connor Hellebuyck turned away 27 shots, including 14 in the third period, to earn the win.

Three Stars: 1. Scheifele 2. Ehlers 3. Connor

READ THE GAME NOTES

Festive Season

After playing nine of 14 games on the road in November, the Jets play eight of 13 games at home in December...Winnipeg has three home-and-home sets this month - Dec. 3 and 5 against Dallas; Dec. 10 and 12 against Detroit, and Dec. 27 and 29 against St. Louis...The Jets went 11-4-0 in December last season, which set a franchise record for most wins in December...Blake Wheeler leads Jets players in career scoring in December with 123 points (37G, 86A) in 138 games.

Road Wins

The Jets are 10-5-0 on the road this season, which is tied for the second most wins in the NHL...Winnipeg has won seven of their past nine road games, including matching a franchise record with five consecutive road wins from Nov. 1-19/19...Tomorrow ends a stretch of the Jets playing eight of 10 games on the road...The eight games are being played across three time zones and on both coasts...The Jets have not lost consecutive road games this season...Patrik Laine (4G, 13A) leads the Jets in scoring on the road with 17 points in 15 games.

High Five

The Jets matched a season high by scoring five goals on Tuesday...Winnipeg has scored five times in a game on four occasions this season, including twice in their past four games...The Jets have scored between two and five goals in nine of their past 10 games and their goals for per game this season has a standard deviation of 1.46, which is ninth smallest in the NHL...The Jets are averaging 2.86 goals per game this season and have the second most wins of any team in the NHL averaging less than three goals per game.

Few Against

The Jets are 4-1-0 in their past five games and have surrendered just seven goals in that span of contests...Winnipeg has allowed three goals or less in eight of their past nine games...The Jets are averaging 2.71 goals against this season, which is seventh fewest in the NHL.

Western Rivals

The Jets are 5-2-0 against divisional opponents this season...The Jets are 12-6-0 against the Western Conference this season, which is tied for the NHL lead in wins against the Western Conference...The Jets are in the midst of eight of nine games against the Western Conference...Kyle Connor leads the Jets in scoring against the Western Conference with 17 points (8G, 9A) in 17 games.

PK Run

In their past eight games, the Jets are 19-for-22 (86.4%) on the penalty kill and haven't allowed a power play goal against in seven of the eight games...The only blemish was three power play goals allowed on Nov. 23 vs. CBJ in a 4-3 win.

Shut It Down

Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has allowed one goal or less in three consecutive starts and five of his past six appearances...In his last four games, Hellebuyck is 4-0-0 and has stopped 88 of 90 shots for a .978 save percentage...He's allowed two goals or less in 14 games in which he's started this season, which leads the NHL.

Multi-Point Efforts

The Jets had a season high five players produce a multi-point game on Tuesday...The previous high was three players in a game (Oct. 4 at NJD, Oct. 10 vs. MIN, Nov. 16 at TBL, and Nov. 27 at SJS)...Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler lead the Jets with six multi-point games each this season.

Wheelin' in the Circle

Blake Wheeler won a season high 16 face-offs on Tuesday...He's won 35-of-51 (68.6%) face-offs against Dallas this season, including 14-of-21 on Nov. 10...Wheeler is 54.8% (102-for-186) in the face-off circle this season, which is the first time in his career he's been better than 50% in a season.

How the Jets Were Built

Drafted (13) - Appleton, Connor, Copp, Ehlers, Gustafsson, Hellebuyck, Laine, Little, Lowry, Morrissey, Poolman, Scheifele, Roslovic

Trade (3) - Beaulieu, Pionk, Wheeler

Free Agency (9) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Luoto, Perreault, Schilling, Shaw

Waivers (3) - Dahlstrom, Sbisa, Shore

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