The Dallas Stars got back in the win column Thursday night, defeating the Winnipeg Jets, 2-1, in a shootout at American Airlines Center.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a big two points for the Stars, who were coming off a disappointing 0-2-1 road trip. On Thursday, they were playing their eighth game in 13 days and battling a little fatigue along with the Jets.
“I think overall we cleaned up 90 percent of our game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Coming off the road trip, I still sense the energy is low on the team, but I thought we played smarter, and that’s probably the difference in the game.”
The win was the fifth straight at home for the Stars and their ninth in the past ten at the AAC. They improved to 29-10-4 (62 points) on the season.
“You always need wins,” said Stars defenseman Johnny Oduya. “You don’t want to lose, but on the other hand, you have to learn from what it is. On the trip, we didn’t play the way we wanted and coming back home we’re looking for a new opportunity. When you look at the standings, teams are chasing you.”
Tyler Seguin scored in regulation and the shootout. Patrick Sharp ran his points streak to 11 games with an assist and scored the shootout-deciding goal. Kari Lehtonen stopped 32 of 33 shots in regulation and overtime and then turned away two of three in the shootout.
“You can see our energy wasn’t the highest as it’s been,” said Seguin. “I think I looked up in the third period, and we only had 15 shots. Especially when we’re playing on home ice, where we’re usually buzzing a lot more. Fatigue could be there a little bit, but I heard Winnipeg was on a long road trip, so both sides [were tired]. That was one where you had to dig down.”
The Jets ended their five-game road trip with a 2-3-0 record and are now 19-20-2 on the season. Like the Stars, the Jets were are going through a tough part of their schedule – seven games in 12 days.
“Faces coming into the bench, there wasn’t anything left. Tonight was just on will, it wasn’t always easy, and that’s a tough run,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “I’m glad we got a point because I think we earned that point.”
The Stars scored the only goal of the first period. Seguin put home the rebound of a Sharp wrap-around attempt at the 7:55 mark.
The Jets outshot the Stars 11-4 in the second period and scored to tie the game. Mathieu Perreault tallied off a blast from the right circle off the rush at the 6:47 mark to make it a 1-1 game.
The shots were 8-8 in a scoreless third period. The Stars had a great chance to take the lead at the 13:24 mark when Sharp drove the net and had a wide open look, but his close range shot ended up in the left pad of Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
The Jets had a four-on-three power play in overtime, but couldn’t take advantage, and that sent the game to the shootout, where Seguin and Sharp both scored for the Stars, and Lehtonen turned away two of three Winnipeg shooters to give Dallas the second point.
“It was a big game for a lot of reasons,” Sharp said. “We weren't happy with the way we played last road trip, but it's a Central Division opponent, we're on home ice. For any number of reasons, you can circle this one, we can be happy we got the two points, but we can still play better than I think we did tonight. But we'll take the positive out of it and take the win."
Stars defenseman Jordie Benn missed Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury. Stars coach Lindy Ruff provided an update after the game.
“In fairness to Jordie, he’s been hurting for a while,” Ruff said. “He’s been playing through an injury, and for me, it was affecting the way he played. So I took him out of the game. And he’ll be day-to-day.”
*The Stars are 17-4-0 at home. Their 34 points at home are tops in the NHL.
*The Stars are 8-2-1 vs. the Central Division.
*The Stars are 5-4 in games that have gone beyond regulation, including 2-2 in shootouts and 3-2 in three-on-three overtime.
*Tyler Seguin scored his 24th goal, tying Stars captain Jamie Benn and St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko for the lead league.
*Patrick Sharp extended his points streak to 11 games (6 goals, 8 assists).
*The Jets had a 33-24 shots advantage and a 62-57 advantage in attempted shots.
*Jamie Benn led the Stars with seven attempted shots.
*The Stars won 34 of 68 faceoffs (50 percent).
*Tyler Seguin won 12 of 16 faceoffs (75 percent). Jason Spezza won 7 of 12 (58 percent). Vernon Fiddler won of 4 of 10 (40 percent). Cody Eakin won 5 of 21 (24 percent).
*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 29:10 of time.
*Stars coach Lindy Ruff started the game with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on different lines, but reunited them to start the third period.
The Stars host Minnesota on Saturday and then will have a five-day break before their next game, which is Friday, January 15 at Anaheim.
Jamie Benn – Jason Spezza – Valeri Nichushkin
Mattias Janmark – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Sharp
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Colton Sceviour
Radek Faksa – Vernon Fiddler – Patrick Eaves
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Jordie Benn (lower body), Ales Hemsky (lower body)
Scratched: Travis Moen, Jamie Oleksiak
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.