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Jets Sputter, Give up Four Unanswered in Loss to Stars

Photo by Scott Stroh

Jets Sputter, Give up Four Unanswered in Loss to Stars

Another game for the Winnipeg Jets, another 4-1 victory for the home team. This time, however, Winnipeg was on the road at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. Although scoring early, the Jets were unable to keep the ball rolling, ultimately giving up four-straight tallies to the host Stars, falling 4-1 on Monday night.

“There are a lot of areas we’re going to improve upon,” Adam Lowry said post-game. “It’s the second game, we’re disappointed with the result and we know we can play better. There is a lot of room for us to improve and we’re looking forward to that.”

Much like that of the season-opener last Friday, Mark Scheifele opened the scoring for Winnipeg in Game 2. In pumping his third of the year past Jake Oettinger just 3:28 into the opening frame, the Jets’ top centreman accomplished that feat in 16 fewer games than it took him last season.

Each member of the new-look top-line touched the puck before Scheifele bulged the twine. Nikolaj Ehlers set his mate Kyle Connor up with a breakout pass, who carried the disc into the offensive zone. KC slammed on the brakes and crossed up his defender with a pass to Scheifele. The team’s goal scoring leader one-timed the pass through Oettinger and in and out of the net in the blink of an eye.

Tyler Seguin had the equalizer for Dallas midway through the frame, one-touching a quick pass from Ty Dellandrea after Saku Maenalanen, Dylan DeMelo and Neal Pionk got their signals crossed in the defensive zone. The first 20 minutes ended with each team having scored once and putting up eight shots apiece.

“Our whole premise of our D-zone coverage is protecting the guts of the ice. We let people get in there alone,” acting head coach Scott Arniel said. “We let them get some pretty good looks. The Seguin goal was us looking around and not finding the most dangerous guy. When we’re on our game, we’re doing a good job between the dots in our end of the rink and tonight we were a little bit soft in that area.”

But much like the opener, Winnipeg fell victim to a very disappointing second period. A genuine disinterest in helping out defensively led to Dallas’ second goal of the frame. The Stars’ first tally of the middle period came just moments after an Adam Lowry hooking penalty came to a close. With the Jets seemingly unaware the penalty kill was over, Dallas took advantage of a sleeping five-man unit, with a heavy Jani Hakanpaa shot eventually beating Hellebuyck through a Logan Stanley screen.

“In the second period they started playing with more speed, more transition. We didn’t have an answer for it,” Lowry added. “That’s something we take a look at and see where we can improve in the neutral zone and managing pucks and things like that. Maybe be a little more direct.”

The second goal was another communication breakdown. Three defenders chased the puck after a set of close-range Hellebuyck stops. Anton Lundell got the puck over to Joel Kiviranta, who hammered a one-timer past the sprawling Jets’ netminder, giving Dallas a second goal just 1:50 after its first strike of the period.

The Stars finished the second up 3-1 while outshooting Winnipeg 20-14.

With Logan Stanley in the box for slashing midway through the third period, Miro Heiskanen scored on yet another one-timer for the Stars. The heavy clapper went through Pierre-Luc Dubois and deflected off the heel of Brenden Dillon before finding the twine.

With Neal Pionk being on the receiving end of a Kiviranta high stick, the Jets had one final opportunity to find their offence but couldn’t get the job done. After just one shot on their previous two power plays, the Jets put up five total shots on net during the extended four-minute, double minor late in the frame. Despite the seemingly high shot total, the power play really wasn’t all that productive.

Scheifele finished the game with the only Jets goal as the Stars rallied for four unanswered tallies. Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 25 of Dallas’ 29 shots, while Jake Oettinger made 23 saves on the Jets’ 24 shots. Winnipeg next travels to Colorado for a test with the reigning Stanley Cup champion Avalanche on Wednesday night. The Jets will then battle the Vegas Golden Knights the following night in Nevada before returning home to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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