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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 26th (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (4-5-2) at Dallas Stars (4-5-0), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Stars used the return of their No. 1 goaltender to halt a two-game slide the last time out. Kari Lehtonen hopes to make a difference for the Stars again on Saturday, as Dallas welcomes the Winnipeg Jets for a battle at American Airlines Center.
Dallas went 1-4-0 while Lehtonen missed five games with a lower-body injury, but he was back for Thursday's home test against Calgary and helped the Stars beat the Flames, 5-1. Prior to Lehtonen's return, the Stars had given up at least three goals in five straight games.
Lehtonen turned away 28-of-29 shots to improve his record this season to 3-1-0. The Finnish netminder also is boasting a 1.41 goals against average and .956 save percentage in four games this season.
"He played great. He gave us a couple key saves at real important times," Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff said of his No. 1 goaltender.
Alex Chiasson scored a pair of goals to lead the Stars' offense in the rout of the Flames. Chiasson lit the lamp in the first period, then broke a 1-1 tie midway through the second for Dallas.
Jamie Benn also scored twice for the Stars, with Brenden Dillon adding a goal in the triumph.
Dallas is closing out a two-game homestand tonight and is 3-1-0 as the host this season.
The Jets, meanwhile, enter Saturday's game in a slump, having lost three straight and posting a 2-5-2 record over their past nine outings.
Winnipeg's latest setback came in the opener of a four-game road trip, as it dropped a 3-2 overtime decision Thursday in Nashville. It was the second straight loss after regulation for the Jets, who were coming off a frustrating 2-3-1 homestand.
The Jets tied the Predators at 3-3 with 3:01 left in the third period on a goal from Blake Wheeler, but Craig Smith scored with 17 seconds remaining in OT to earn the extra point for Nashville. Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien looked to start a rush from the Winnipeg zone late in the extra session, but lost control of the puck. The Predators quickly capitalized on the turnover as David Legwand fed Smith for a one-timer from the left circle.
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 30 shots for the Jets in a losing effort, while Anthony Peluso scored Winnipeg's other goal.
"I would think (this game is a) point lost, for me," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "We expect to take steps, and I think that we didn't take a step backwards, OK, but we need to take another step. And it's, when is it going to come? We can't wait here forever."
The Jets haven't fared well against the Stars in recent seasons, losing two of three, four of six and 12 of the last 15 meetings between the clubs. The Winnipeg franchise, which was known as the Atlanta Thrashers until the 2011-12 season, has also lost two straight and six of its past seven games in Dallas.
Lehtonen, a former member of the Thrashers, is 2-0 with a 0.63 GAA in two career outings against his former franchise.
10/26 10:44:51 ET