DALLAS - They came all the way back from a 3-0 deficit, but despite their best efforts, the Winnipeg Jets came up just short of a perfect road trip.
After winning the first three stops, the Jets gave up three goals in a 5:42 stretch in the second period and ultimately dropped a 5-3 decision to the Dallas Stars in the road trip finale.
"It was a good battle. We don't quit, so it was a hell of a battle to get ourselves back in that one," said captain Blake Wheeler. "We had a tough time with them last year and so far this year it has been two really good games."
Video: WPG@DAL: Connor buries pass from Scheifele
Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, and Luca Sbisa had the goals for the Jets, who fell to 13-9-1 on the season with the defeat.
With the loss, the Jets saw a couple streaks come to an end. The run of five straight road wins came to a halt as did the streak of three consecutive victories.
Still, six points out of a possible eight makes for a successful trip.
"It's too bad it ended that way, but three out of four against four good teams, we put ourselves in a pretty good spot here," said Wheeler. "We've been playing really well this month. You can't get too down after this loss. You want to win them all but I think for the most part our game is where we want it."
Neither side could find the scoreboard in the first despite some high-quality chances for both sides.
But 7:37 into the second, Mattias Janmark got to a long rebound off the blocker of Connor Hellebuyck and slid it past the diving Jets goaltender. Janmark's goal put the Jets down 1-0, the first time Winnipeg had trailed in a game at any point on the four-game road trip.
Video: WPG@DAL: Sbisa buries one-timer from the slot
Just 2:06 after that, Jason Dickinson tipped a point shot past Hellebuyck's glove to make it 2-0. The Jets challenged the play for offside, but the goal was upheld. The NHL Situation Room explained that on the entry, the Stars had possession and control of the puck.
"They felt it was possession, I just didn't," said head coach Paul Maurice.
"I think he lost the puck then came back and got it."
Dallas made it 3-0 on Radek Faksa's sixth of the season, which was a bit of an odd one, as his shot popped over Hellebuyck, landed behind him, and went off the back of his skate and over the goal line.
Connor got the Jets on the board with 4:02 remaining in the second. He came up the ice with speed and Mark Scheifele was able to find the left winger with a quick pass just inside the Dallas blue line. Connor went five hole on Ben Bishop for his eighth of the campaign, pulling the Jets within two.
A bit of good fortune helped the Jets get within one, as a point shot from Tucker Poolman went off the chest of Laine just outside the Dallas crease. The redirected puck rolled over the line for Laine's sixth of the season with 11:25 to go in regulation.
Sbisa's first as a Jet would tie the game in the third period.
"It's nice to score a goal. It's been a while for me. It's nice that it came at a good time," said Sbisa. "At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. We came here for the two points. This one is going to sting for a while. But guys can keep their heads up. We didn't give up, stayed in it until the end. We came close."
The tie was short lived though, as Stars captain Jamie Benn put Dallas ahead 25 seconds later.
Tyler Seguin added an empty net goal with 34.8 seconds left in regulation to round out the scoring.
Despite the loss, Maurice was happy with what he saw from his team over the course of the road trip.
"It was outstanding. Our best game on effort is in Nashville. On execution, it's Florida. I liked our heart in here tonight, probably not our execution so much," said Maurice.
"Come off a 10-day trip, go home, go back out for a long one again, you want the heart to be there first."