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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 16th (All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (32-23-11) at Winnipeg Jets (30-29-9), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Stars failed to hold a two-goal lead last time out and will aim to rebound on Sunday night when they visit the fading Winnipeg Jets.
Riding a three-game winning streak, the Stars got second-period goals from Jamie Benn, Antoine Roussel and Erik Cole on Friday versus the Calgary Flames to take a 3-1 edge.
However, the Flames scored twice in the third period and then got the game- winning shootout tally from Corban Knight in the fourth round of a 4-3 victory over the Stars.
Tim Thomas made 27 saves in defeat, one that dropped Dallas to 8-2-3 in its past 13 games as the club is tied with the Phoenix Coyotes for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. However, the Stars have two games in hand.
"I thought on both goals we got on the wrong side of the man," said Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff. "The penalty-killing goal, we got on the wrong side. The tying goal, we got on the wrong side. We had some problems defensively tonight and we spent more time in our zone than I thought we needed to. We lost some battles that ended up making the difference in the game."
Benn did score a goal for the fourth game in a row and also has five assists over a six-game point streak, while Tyler Seguin set new career highs with his 39th assist and 68th point this season.
Thomas may start again tonight and it will be his third for Dallas since being acquired from the Florida Panthers. He has jumped into action due to No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen suffering a concussion last Saturday.
Lehtonen practiced this past Saturday, but it is unknown when he will return.
Thomas is 8-3-2 with a 2.74 goals against average in his career versus the Jets, who are six points back of the Stars in the standings.
Winnipeg made a solid push for a playoff spot after Paul Maurice took over as head coach on Jan. 12, but is in the midst of a season-long 0-3-3 skid. The Jets also lost their starting goaltender Ondrej Pavelec on Friday in a 4-2 setback to the New York Rangers.
Pavelec exited after the first period with a lower-body injury having stopped 6-of-8 shots faced. He is expected to miss at least the next two games.
Al Montoya made 13 saves versus the Rangers, while Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd scored in the game's first 3:26 for the Jets. Ladd lit the lamp in his 600th NHL game.
"It's always tough. I thought we had our fair share of chances there in the offensive zone. But, you know, at the end of the day they got the two points and they played well," said Winnipeg defenseman Zach Bogosian.
The Jets recalled goaltender Michael Hutchinson from the American Hockey League to serve as the backup to Montoya, who has made just four starts since late January. He is 10-5-3 with a 2.20 GAA in 21 games (16 starts) this season and has never before started against the Stars. He has faced them twice before in relief.
Winnipeg defenseman Chris Thorburn is also expected to miss at least the next two games with a lower-body injury suffered versus the Rangers.
The Jets have lost both of their home games against the Stars this season, though they did notch a 2-1 shootout victory at Dallas in between.
03/16 10:54:40 ET