Tuesday, February 2
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
The Stars (31-14-5) entered the break with a 2-1 victory over Calgary last Monday at American Airlines Center. The win was just the third in the past 11 games (3-6-2) for the Stars, who sit second in the Central Division, second in the Western Conference and third overall in the NHL.
The Stars play 14 games in February, including nine against Central Division foes. Eight of their first 11 games out of the break are on the road, where they have lost eight straight (0-5-3). 11 of the 14 games are against teams currently in the playoffs or within one point of a playoff spot.
“I really feel the focus intensifies. Every game now – won or lost – is magnified,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve been in this position before where you are fighting for a spot. We are going to play teams that are right on the bubble that can be in one day and out the next. You are going to hear this is a playoff atmosphere, a playoff type game. In January, some teams had ups and downs, some pushed ahead, some went sideways and now I think is when you see the biggest push of any.”
Defenseman Jordie Benn, who missed the last four games before the break with a lower-body injury, practiced Monday. He could play Tuesday.
The Stars Sunday recalled defenseman Jamie Oleksiak from a conditioning assignment in the AHL.
Injuries: D Jordie Benn (lower body) is probable.
The Jets (22-24-3) hit the break with a 5-2 win over Arizona at MTS Centre last Tuesday. The win was just the third in the past nine games (3-5-1) for the Jets, who sit in 12th place in the Western Conference and nine points out of the second wild-card spot.
The Jets come out of the break with a two-game homestand but play eight of 12 games in February on the road, where they are 9-14-2 this season.
“Home or road, it doesn’t matter anymore. We just have to get wins,” Jets forward Mathieu Perreault told media Monday. “Every game is so important. We have 33 games left, so we have to go 26-7 or 25-8. We have to win games.”
Perreault and Adam Lowry, who both have been out with injury, practiced on Monday and could return for Tuesday’s game against the Stars.
Injuries: F Mathieu Perreault (lower body) and F Adam Lowry (upper body) are probable. G Ondrej Pavelec (knee) and D Grant Clitsome (back) are out.
*This is the third of five meetings between the Stars and Jets this season.
*The Stars are 2-0-0 (4 points) in the season series.
*The Jets are 0-1-1 (1 point) in the season series.
*November 12, at Dallas: Stars 6, Jets 3
*January 7, at Dallas: Stars 2, Jets 1 (SO)
*The Stars are 8-4-1 vs. the Central Division.
*The Jets are 6-12-1 vs. the Central Division.
*The Stars are 0-5-3 in their past eight road games.
*The Jets are 2-5-0 in their past seven home games.
*The Stars went 5-7-3 from the NHL’s holiday break to the All-Star break.
*The Jets went 7-7-1 from the holiday break to the All-Star break.
*Jamie Benn leads the Stars in goals (28) and points (58).
*Bryan Little leads the Jets in goals (15) and Blake Wheeler leads in points (48).
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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.