The Dallas Stars power play came up big for a second straight game and fueled a big victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The Stars scored four times on the power play in knocking off the Jets, 5-2 at MTS Centre Saturday night.
“It was [the difference], there is no doubt,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “You score four power play goals, I think it is the difference.”
The Stars, who scored twice on the power play Thursday night to take an early lead in Ottawa, scored their first three goals with the man-advantage Saturday night. The Stars ended the night 4-8 on the power play.
“Obviously, they were trying to play real physical and they took a few penalties. The only way you can stop the physical play is put the puck in the back of the net (on the power play),” Ruff said. “For us, we had those opportunities and if you don’t take them then it keeps coming.”
John Klingberg led the Dallas attack with two goals and two assists. Patrick Eaves, Shawn Horcoff and Jason Spezza also scored goals. Tyler Seguin registered three assists. Kari Lehtonen was solid in net, turning away 38 of 40 shots.
“It was a big win for us. We needed this,” Klingberg said. “The power play did a hell of a job. We need the special teams. The PK was good. It was a good game for us. These were important points.”
The Stars (23-19-7) pulled to within seven points of the Jets, who hold the first wild card spot in the Western Conference, and they have two games in hand on Winnipeg.
The Jets fell to 0-3-0 since the All-Star break. They’ve been outscored 15-7 in the three losses, giving up five goals in each of the three games. Seven of the 15 goals against have been power play tallies.
“We’ve lost three in a row and you have to deal with that. We haven’t played particularly well,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. “I’m not very excited about our penalty kill right now, a couple of the penalties that we took.”
The Jets were physical right off the start. Jets defenseman Mark Stuart rocked Klingberg with a big hit 27 seconds into the game.
“We know they are a physical team,” said Klingberg. “We just had our heads up and know they are coming. If we move the puck, we know we are going to get some good chances going the other way.”
The Stars scored the only goal of the first period, cashing in on the game’s first power play. Eaves banged home the rebound of a Seguin shot to put the Stars up 1-0 at the 5:13 mark.
The Jets controlled play for a good part of the second period and tied the game midway through the game. Jets captain Andrew Ladd scored from the left circle at 10:14 of the second, capping off a sequence that saw the Stars pinned in their own end for close to 90 seconds.
But the Stars power play struck twice late in the period to take a 3-1 lead. Horcoff tipped in a Trevor Daley point shot at the 14:21 mark to put the Stars up 2-1. Spezza fired home the rebound of a Seguin shot at the 18:47 mark and the Stars had a two-goal lead going into the second intermission.
Klingberg scored twice in the third as the Stars extended their lead to 5-1. He scored on a shot from the point with the two teams playing five-on-five at the 4:29 mark. The rookie defenseman then scored off a blast from the slot with the Stars on a five-on-three power play at the 8:40 mark.
“He’s a young D that’s got some good skill,” Ruff said of Klingberg. “Sometimes the puck goes in for you. The wrist shot from the point found a hole and he had good shot on the five-on-three. He took a beating out there a few times, but he kept playing.”
Toby Enstrom scored at 12:46 of the third to cut the Dallas lead to 5-2, but that was as close as the Jets would get. And the Stars pulled a little closer to the Jets in the Western Conference standings.
*Dallas’ John Klingberg leads all rookie defensemen in goals with nine. He ranks second in points with 24 and second in assists with 15.
*The Stars were 4-8 on the power play. They are 6-11 on the PP over the past two games and are 9-29 (31.0 percent) over the past six games.
*The last time the Stars scored four power play goals in a game was January 15, 2011 in a 6-1 victory over Atlanta at American Airlines Center.
*The Stars were 2-2 on the penalty kill.
*The Jets outshot the Stars 40-32 and had a 94-55 advantage in shot attempts, including shots blocked and those that missed the net.
*Tyler Seguin led the Stars with nine shots on goal.
*The Stars won 30 of 69 faceoffs (43 percent).
*Tyler Seguin won 8 of 12 draws (67 percent). Cody Eakin won 8 of 17 (47 percent). Jason Spezza won 8 of 18 (44 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 3 of 9 (33 percent).
*Trevor Daley led the Stars with 24:17 of ice time.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Eaves
Shawn Horcoff – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Travis Moen – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
David Schlemko – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: Erik Cole (upper body), Brett Ritchie (undisclosed), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)
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.