The hometown Stars dominated the opening 40 minutes, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, while gaining a 16-shot lead on the visitors, maintaining a commanding 28-12 advantage through two periods of play. Dallas picked up a power play goal just eight minutes into the game as Brett Ritchie collected his third of the season.
The Stars struck even earlier in the second period, as Blake Comeau jammed his fifth of the year through Connor Hellebuyck’s paddle just 22 seconds into the opening shift of the frame. Radek Faksa then beat Hellebuyck with a shot off the rush on a Roman Polak drop pass. Through two periods of play, the Stars had five power play opportunities, cashing in on their first.
Winnipeg – who had looked exceptionally sluggish and worn out in the game’s opening 40 minutes – finally came to life in the third period of play. Building off of their stellar game on Thursday against Nashville, the Jets’ fourth line continued their dominance in the third final frame.
Following a first period fight with defenceman Connor Carrick, pugilist Brendan Lemieux finally got the Jets on the board three minutes into the third with a solid grinding effort. Mason Appleton assisted on Lemieux’s third goal in two games.
Just 21 seconds later, Kyle Connor jumped on a perfect Blake Wheeler cross-ice setup and beat Ben Bishop high, bringing Winnipeg to within one goal of Dallas, with 16 minutes to play. Unfortunately the Jets’ comeback fell short, partly due to a lack of discipline, resulting in numerous penalties down the home stretch.
With Patrik Laine in the box for hooking, Tyler Seguin put the finishing touches on the game, scoring his 18th on the man advantage, with just 1:45 left to play, putting an end to Winnipeg’s potential comeback. Although keeping the fathers and friends of the Jets on the Dads Trip entertained, Winnipeg concluded its unofficial first half with a loss, dropping its record to 31-15-2.
Even with the loss, the Jets remain in first place in the NHL’s Central Division, a good four points up on second-place Nashville with two games in hand. Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves on 39 Dallas shots, while Ben Bishop turned aside 27 of 29 pucks fired his way.
Winnipeg will now enjoy a good week-and-a-half off, as the All-Star Weekend begins Thursday, where Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele will represent the Jets in a weekend of fun filled with hockey and other festivities. Winnipeg returns to action with back-to-back road contests in Philadelphia on Monday, January 28th and in Boston on Tuesday, January 29th, before returning home on Thursday, January 31st for their first game at Bell MTS Place in 16 days.