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Stars come out of break with 5-3 win over Jets

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars face a challenging schedule in February, and they got off to a good start, defeating the Winnipeg Jets, 5-3, Tuesday night at MTS Centre.

Playing their first game since the All-Star break, the Stars snapped an eight-game road losing streak with Tuesday’s win in Winnipeg and got off to a good start in February after winning just three of eleven games in January.

The road win was big for a team that didn’t win once on the road in January and plays eight of its first 11 games in February away from home.

“This was a big win for us because we’d been struggling on the road before the break,” said Stars defenseman John Klingberg. “It’s a good way to start after the break.”

Tyler Seguin scored two goals and Klingberg had one goal and one assist. Vernon Fiddler and Antoine Roussel also scored goals. Antti Niemi stopped 21 of 24 shots and made several huge stops at key times in the game.

Special teams, which had been a sore spot in January, came up big for the Stars. Seguin scored once on the power play, and his other goal came just as a power play was expiring.

“Getting a couple power play goals makes a huge difference,” Seguin said. “It wasn’t great last month, so we were happy with that tonight.”

The Stars (32-14-5), who overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits Tuesday, have won two straight games and three of their past four games. The Stars, whose first five games out of the break are against the tough Central Division, improved to 9-4-1 against their division foes.

“This is huge. We get the first one, and now we move onto the next one,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “Coming out of the break you don’t know what to expect, and we got a pretty good effort out of our guys.”

Winnipeg (22-25-3) lost for the sixth time in its last eight home games (2-6-0). The Jets had a 2-1 lead but gave up two goals late in the second period to fall behind 3-2. One of those goals came on a 3-on-0 rush.

“They were just harder on the puck than we were. They won more battles,” Jets forward Drew Stafford told the team’s official site. “There were a couple turnovers on our end, some sloppy play, some sloppy reads. You can’t be giving up 2-on-0’s, 3-on-0’s. … You get into a track meet with them, they have such a great transition, and it paid off for them.”

The Jets cashed in on the game’s first power play to take a 1-0 lead when Stafford scored off a blast from the left circle at the 14:16 mark of the first period.

Seguin scored off a one-timer just after a Dallas power play expired to tie the game 1-1 at the 51-second mark of the second period. The goal ended a four-game goal scoring drought for Seguin.

"It's real important," Ruff said. "We talked this morning about starting fresh. I thought his one-on-one play, his battle, was a lot better. It all starts there. And I thought he had some really good looks on the power play."

Just after the Stars missed on their third power play of the night, the Jets scored to take a 2-1 lead. Adam Lowry scored during a scramble in front of Niemi at 4:41 of the second period.

The Jets had several chances to extend their lead to 3-1. Bryan Little fired wide on a breakaway. Niemi turned away a breakaway bid by Andrew Copp. Little had a point-blank chance, but Niemi came up with a big stop.

The Stars drew even late in the period and just after killing off a Winnipeg power play. Jason Demers came out of the box and set up Klingberg on a 3-on-0 rush and Klingberg scored from close range to make it a 2-2 game at the 14:41 mark.

Just two minutes later, the Stars took a 3-2 lead when Valeri Nichushkin and Ales Hemsky set up Fiddler, who scored off the rush at the 16:52 mark.

Seguin extended the lead to 4-2 with a power-play goal at 2:49 of the third period, scoring from the slot off a broken play. Winnipeg cut the lead to 4-3 when Dustin Byfuglien scored off a blast at the 10:14 mark.

The Jets had a great chance to tie with 4:14 left, but Niemi got his pad on a point-blank shot by Mark Scheifele.

In the final minute, with the Winnipeg net empty and an extra attacker on the ice, Jets defenseman Tyler Myers had a great look from the slot, but hit the crossbar with 46 seconds left. Roussel then scored into the empty net to put the Stars up 5-3 and seal the victory.

Sceviour injured; Jordie Benn off IR but doesn’t play

Stars forward Colton Sceviour left Tuesday’s game in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Sceviour was hit hard into the boards early in the second period by Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who received a boarding minor. Sceviour, whose head hit the boards, came back and played two more shifts in the second and then four in the third before leaving the game.

“He came back and was feeling OK. Then he wasn’t feeling good halfway through the third, so he left the game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Defenseman Jordie Benn was activated off injured reserve Tuesday but did not play. Ruff said Benn, who has been out with a lower-body injury, could use some more practice time. Benn could play Thursday at Colorado.

*The Stars outshot the Jets 27-24 and had a 55-47 advantage in attempted shots.

*Tyler Seguin led the Stars with five shots on goal and 12 attempted shots.

*Seguin’s goals were his 26th and 27th of the season.

*John Klingberg and Alex Goligoski both were a plus-four in the game.

*Goligoski led the Stars with 26:57 of ice time. Klingberg was second with 25:06.

*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 26 of 48 faceoffs (54 percent).

*Cody Eakin won 11 of 18 faceoffs (61 percent). Tyler Seguin won 5 of 8 (63 percent). Jason Spezza won 5 of 9 (56 percent).

The Stars wrap up their two-game road trip Thursday in Denver, taking on the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars have lost eight straight games to the Avalanche and 11 of the last 12.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Sharp

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselCody EakinAles Hemsky

Valeri NichushkinVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJamie Oleksiak

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Jordie Benn, Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth

Injured: None

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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