WINNIPEG - You just knew that after a strong showing, but the wrong result, the other night in the Big D, they would come out and get the job done tonight.
They've been trending that way - the right way - for some time, but just haven't been rewarded.
This was a different Winnipeg Jets team. For the first time all year, they played with a lead, loved it, and floored it right to the finish line,
Patrik Laine scored a pair of power-play goals, Kyle Connor picked up his first NHL tally, and Tyler Myers netted the other in a 4-1 win over the Stars.
Connor Hellebuyck had a terrific night between the pipes, making 38 saves in the victory.
"I thought the game (Tuesday) in Dallas was pretty good. We did a lot of really good things in that game, but sometimes you don't win," captain Blake Wheeler said. "We did a good job carrying it over. We've done a better job these last two games playing a strong 60 minutes."
Laine finished the night with a team-high seven shots in 17:48 of ice time. He is atop of the Jets leaderboard in both goals (6) and points (8) in seven games.
Video: DAL@WPG: Laine scores second PPG with wicked wrister
"When I came here they had the worst power play last year. I thought that I could bring something to the power play and now I've got a couple goals," Laine said.
"Those are important goals for our team. I'm just trying to get my team win.
"When you're hot, you're hot."
Video: POSTGAME | Patrik Laine
The Jets got the start they were looking for, scoring the game's first goal just 15 seconds in as Myers unloaded from the right point, beating a screened Antti Niemi clean on the blocker side.
The Jets were in total control before a penalty to Stars forward Radek Faksa turned an already tilted opening stanza into a laugher on the shot clock. The Jets had the Stars pinned in their own end for the entire two minutes, firing eight shots on goal, with another four either blocked or forced wide by the exhausted Dallas defenders.
Connor doubled the Winnipeg lead on a 2-on-1 with 3:47 to play in the period, roofing a shot from the right circle after getting a beautiful feed from Nikolaj Ehlers, who delivered a deft, no-look pass under the stick of the sprawling Esa Lindell.
This, after sitting out Tuesday's game in Dallas. Tonight, he was given his first look in a Top 6 role, skating alongside Ehlers and Mathieu Perreault. Head Coach Paul Maurice thought Connor would benefit from watching a game, to take what he's learned so far and apply it to the press-box view. Boy, did that work wonders.
Video: DAL@WPG: Connor finishes the rush for first NHL goal
"That goal happens because Kyle has that kind of speed," Maurice said. "He can get up in the ice and open up enough time so that when that pass comes, it's a relaxed shot. With those two young guys, they're going to get a chance or two a night like that just being patient, being around (the puck). I'd like to see those two develop that kind of mindset."
Shots favoured the Jets 21-13 after a wildly entertaining first period.
Laine's power-play goal put the Jets up by three just four-and-a-minutes into the middle frame. The rookie made it look easy, snapping a quick wrister from the top of the far circle top shelf only eight seconds into the penalty.
Video: DAL@WPG: Laine honors Selanne with PPG celebration
Tyler Seguin cut the deficit to two with a power play goal early in the third period, but that was as close as they would get. Laine put this one away with an absolutely terrifying shot from the left point, restoring the three-goal lead on a 5-on-3 at 10:17.
"I really liked the way this thing went at 3-1. The bench was really good," Maurice said. "The story of the game is that we had some D zone coverage time after that (Seguin goal) and were solid, but Lowry's line goes out and has the big shift. They were fantastic all night. I haven't seen a guy with four takeaways on the sheet in a long time."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
With the win, the Jets improve to 3-4 on the year. After the game, they immediately flew to Denver for another pivotal, Central Division clash tomorrow night against the Colorado Avalanche.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com