It was a familiar story for the Dallas Stars Tuesday in Winnipeg. They played well, and they had their chances, but it didn't translate into success as they lost, 5-2, to the Jets at MTS Centre.
"I have to stand here and tell the same story too many times," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "I thought we did a heck of a job, we didn't spend a lot of time in our end, and we made a few mistakes here and there. But I thought our guys played a hell of a game. I can't criticize them for that game."
The Stars, who had a 77-51 advantage in shot attempts, overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie the game 2-2 in the second period, but Jets forward Patrik Laine snapped the tie with 5:07 remaining and then the Jets tacked on two empty-net goals.
The loss was the sixth in the past seven games for the Stars (22-26-10) and the fifth straight on the road. The Stars dropped to 12th place in the West, two points behind the Jets and six points out of the final playoff spot.
"It's been extremely frustrating," said Spezza. "I thought we did some things today that deserved us a better result. We had lots of looks at the end. It's obviously not good enough. We know where it puts us in the standings, and we know we have to do a better job."
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin scored goals for the Stars. Antti Niemi got the start in goal and stopped 19 of 22 shots.
Laine scored three goals for the Jets, who snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 26-29-4. The Jets pulled to within four points of the final playoff spot in the West.
"I thought we looked exactly the way we were supposed to look. We battle hard, finished checks, competed hard, blocked shots," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "This one was a hard fought, 2-2 going into the third, playoff type desperate game, must win."
The Stars had a 12-6 shots advantage in the first period, but the Jets scored the only goal when Patrik Laine tallied from close range off the rush at the 15:04 mark.
The Jets extended the lead to 2-0 in the second period on a goal by Joel Armia, who scored from the slot at the 7:38 mark. Less than a minute later, Stars forward Curtis McKenzie and Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot dropped the gloves. And just 15 seconds after the fight, the Stars were on the board. Jason Spezza won a puck battle along the boards and then set up Benn, who scored from the bottom of the right circle at 8:43 of the second to make it a 2-1 game.
The Stars tied the game 2-2 with a power-play goal at 13:35 of the second. Seguin scored from the slot with Patrick Eaves setting a screen on Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
The Stars had their chances in the third. Patrick Sharp had two shots hit the crossbar, and a deflection off a John Klingberg shot hit the post. But Laine snapped the tie with 5:07 left, winning a puck battle off a faceoff and beating Niemi with a wrist shot from the slot to put the Jets up 3-2. Empty net goals by Blake Wheeler and Laine rounded out the scoring in the game.
Notes: Jamie Benn hits 500-point mark
*Stars captain Jamie Benn recorded his 500th career point with his goal in the second period. Benn, who also had an assist in Tuesday's game, has 501 points (211 goals, 290 assists) in 562 NHL games.
*Benn has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in his past 13 games.
*The Stars outshot the Jets 36-24 and had a 77-51 advantage in shot attempts.
*Patrick Eaves led the Stars with five shots on goal. Patrick Sharp was tops with ten shot attempts.
*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars are 11-49 (22.5 percent) on the power play over the past eleven games.
*The Stars won 39 of 64 faceoffs (61 percent). Cody Eakin won 17 of 23 (74 percent).
*John Klingberg led the Stars with 25:46 of ice time.
The Stars wrap up their three-game road trip Thursday in Minnesota. The Stars are 1-2-1 vs. the Wild this season.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Eaves
Lauri Korpikoski - Jason Spezza - Tyler Seguin
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie - Devin Shore - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Jordie Benn
Jamie Oleksiak - Stephen Johns
Scratched: Adam Cracknell, Jiri Hudler, Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Johnny Oduya (ankle), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee)
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.