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Stars-Jets Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Thursday, January 7

7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (28-10-4) lost their third straight game, falling 6-2 to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Tuesday. The Stars went 0-2-1 on their three-game road trip against New Jersey, New York Islanders and New York Rangers, giving up six goals in each of the last two games.

“If we had done a few better things in the first two games, we could have won those two games,” Ruff said. “I don’t think with the amount of chances we generated in the Ranger game we could have won that game, but I thought those first two were right there for us, and it’s for us to get out of this. For me, that’s my responsibility, to get these guys in the right mindset, get them playing the game the right way again.”

Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who both were minus-three in Tuesday’s game, were benched for the final 12 minutes. The two skated on different lines in Wednesday’s practice in Frisco.

The Stars went through a full practice Wednesday, but will not skate Thursday morning.

“I’ve got to do a job of creating some different energy here. We’ve tried the gameday skate. We’re going to skate [Wednesday] and nothing [Thursday morning],” Ruff said. “We’re going to bring them fresh to the rink and ready to go, give them [the day] off to rest and be ready. Today was just get the flight out of you, you’re feeling good, see your teammates and realize we’re starting all over again.”

Thursday’s game kicks off a two-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: RW Ales Hemsky (lower body) is on injured reserve.

The Jets (19-19-2) won 4-1 at Nashville Tuesday. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 43 shots, and Drew Stafford scored twice on the power play for Winnipeg, which was outshot 44-18.

“You look back at some of the other games where we were on the opposite end of it,” Stafford told the Jets official site. “We’ve outshot teams quite a bit, and it was kind of a rope-a-dope a little bit tonight for us, but we felt that we’ve had games swing the other way for us where we’d put up 40-plus shots and run into a hot netminder. This one, especially against a team we’re chasing in the standings, it’s a big one.”

With the victory, the Jets pulled to within five points of Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Hellebuyck is 9-4-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in his first NHL season.

The Jets are 2-2-0 on their five-game road trip, which wraps up Thursday in Dallas.

Injuries: D Grant Clitsome (back) and G Ondrej Pavelec (knee) are on injured reserve.

This is the second of five meetings between the Stars and Jets this season.

The Stars won the first meeting, 6-3, in Dallas on Nov. 12.

*The Stars are 2-3-2 since the NHL’s holiday break.

*The Jets are 4-2-0 since the break.

*The Stars are 7-2-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Jets are 4-10-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars have won four straight at home and are 8-1-0 in their past nine games at American Airlines Center.

*The Jets are 2-8-0 in their past ten road games.

*The Stars are 1-15 (6.7 percent) on the power play over their past five games.

*The Jets are 16-22 (72.3 percent) on the power play over their past five games.

*Stars forward Patrick Sharp has points in ten straight games (6 goals, 7 assists). It’s the longest active streak in the league.

*Jamie Benn leads the Stars in goals (24) and points (52).

*Bryan Little and Drew Stafford lead the Jets in goals (14).

*Blake Wheeler leads the Jets in points (40).

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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