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Seguin at center of Stars' win against Jets

by Patrick Williams /
WINNIPEG -- Tyler Seguin's new locations, geographically and on the ice, are suiting him well so far with the Dallas Stars.

Seguin dominated the Winnipeg Jets on Friday with his first two goals for the Stars, part of a career-high four-point game and a 4-1 win at MTS Centre.

The Stars acquired Seguin from the Boston Bruins in July in a trade that also brought Rich Peverley to Dallas. New Stars coach Lindy Ruff has returned Seguin to his natural center role on the team's top line with captain Jamie Benn and Peverley.

"Great start," Seguin said of the Stars' effort, which came after a six-day break in the schedule. "I think we were really excited to play. It felt like we had had two or three training camps thus far."

Seguin, the second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, left Boston after three seasons when he visited the Stanley Cup Final twice and won a championship as a Bruins rookie in 2011. Peverley missed the Stars' training camp, preseason and first game with an irregular heartbeat.

"For [Seguin's] confidence to get on the board with a couple of goals, for [Benn] to grab one, and I think that [Peverley] on the right side did a nice job, that line had to have a really good feeling by the end of the night," Ruff said.

Dallas (2-1-0) showed no rust and cruised to a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from Seguin, Alex Chiasson and Benn. Chiasson, playing on the second line with Cody Eakin and Ray Whitney, has nine goals in his first 10 NHL games.

Kari Lehtonen, who had played one game against the team that selected him second in the 2002 NHL Draft, made his second start of the season and stopped all 21 shots he faced. He exited late in the second period with a lower-body injury. Dan Ellis finished up with 22 saves, allowing a third-period goal to Blake Wheeler.

After the game, Ruff said Lehtonen is day-to-day. It is expected Ellis will start Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild.

Dallas, which opened its road schedule and played its first Central Division game since NHL realignment, will play four of its next five games on the road. Ruff put his team through two particularly rigorous practice sessions this week to offset any potential effects of the six-day break.

"[The break is] something that we talked about," Ruff said. "We had to stay sharp all week, and we covered almost every aspect of the game. I thought that the first couple of shifts were rusty, but after that we started to skate well. …

"I always think that big layoffs are an unknown," Ruff continued. "I'd like to stand here and [say] that I knew that we were going to be ready. But you never know. You try to do the right things. You try to put in the compete drills to simulate some game stuff."

Ondrej Pavelec started in net for Winnipeg (2-3-0), allowed four goals on the Stars' first 18 shots, and finished with 27 saves. Winnipeg, which has lost three consecutive games after a 2-0-0 start, continues a six-game homestand Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.

"I thought we made some mistakes in the first period," Jets coach Claude Noel said, "and with those kinds of mistakes, we can't expect that our goaltending's going to save us like it has in the previous games. I thought that the mistakes we made were correctable mistakes. We should have been smarter, and we should have been better in those areas."

Chiasson sliced off the right boards after taking a pass from Seguin at the top of the right circle and stuffed a shot through Pavelec's pads at 9:33 of the first period. Seguin made it 2-0, 2:26 later when he sped across the Winnipeg blue line before taking a rolling puck and hammering a long shot over Pavelec's glove.

Benn made the lead 3-0 late in the first period after Pavelec failed to secure a hard Seguin shot. Benn scooped up the loose puck and tucked it around Pavelec at 16:53.

Early in the second, on the power play after Winnipeg's Grant Clitsome went off for interference, Seguin positioned himself in the left circle, took a feed from Benn and unleashed a heavy shot that slipped past Pavelec for a 4-0 game.

Wheeler ended the combined shutout bid 5:35 into the third period. He collected the rebound of a Dustin Byfuglien shot at the edge of the Dallas crease and flicked it past Ellis. Tobias Enstrom assisted on the goal and has an assist in each of the Jets' five games.

Winnipeg took 44 shots on goal against Dallas one night after managing 15 against Minnesota in a 2-1 loss. The Jets controlled much of the second half of the game against the Stars.

"I saw different things from a coaching standpoint that for me [showed] we just played with a lot more vim and vigor, if you will," Noel said.

"If we had a game like [Thursday] again [Friday], that would be a really big concern of mine, because we were really empty [Thursday]. We had no emotion [Thursday]. At least we had emotion in the game and were trying to get this thing [corrected]."

The Jets will return to practice Saturday morning before meeting New Jersey, and there will be plenty of work to do.

"We just made a few mistakes that ended up costing us," Wheeler said. "You blink your eye, and it's 3-0 going on 4-0. Like I said, it snowballed a little bit out of control and that was the disappointing part, we weren't able to put a stop to it in time to get ourselves back in the game."

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