The Jets halted a six-game winless slide with a convincing 7-2
triumph over the Stars on Sunday night at MTS Centre, posting their
first victory since March 1.
Left winger Dustin Byfuglien scored twice for the Jets, his 18th and
19th goals of the season, while right winger Blake Wheeler had four
assists for the Jets, who went 0-3-3 during their ugly stretch.
Byfuglien went to the dressing room with about 10 minutes left in
the third period, and the Jets later said he suffered a lower-body
Defenseman Tobias Enstrom and center Olli Jokinen each had
three-point nights as Winnipeg (31-29-9) moved within four points of
the Stars (32-24-11) and the Phoenix Coyotes for the final wild-card
spot in the Western Conference.
Enstrom potted his eighth goal of the season, while Jokinen scored
"I think tonight is a game where we've got ourselves back into the
race now, beating a team that's in eighth (place)," said Jets left
winger Evander Kane, who scored the final goal of the night on a
breakaway at 7:33 of the third period.
It was rather meaningless on the score sheet but huge for the
talented forward, who went the previous 10 games without a goal but
now has 16 the season.
Winnipeg has less than 24 hours to prepare for another big test when
its face the league-leading Blues in St. Louis on Monday night.
Kane said the Jets have no choice but to keep battling.
"That energy comes from your own mind. It's all mental," he said.
"We have an opportunity to go into St. Louis and grab two points,
and that's going to be our plan."
Winnipeg scored more than three goals in a game for the first time
since a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 31.
Jets rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba ripped his eighth of the year
early in the first period, and right winger Michael Frolik scored
his 14th. Dallas got first-period goals from right winger Alex
Chiasson, his 12th, and center Tyler Seguin, his career-high 30th.
Seguin scored 29 goals for the Boston Bruins in 2011-12.
The timing of a save by starting goalie Al Montoya midway through
the first period was critical for the Jets. With his club already
trailing 2-1, Montoya turned aside a breakaway chance by Dallas left
winger Erik Cole, and the Jets responded with goals by Frolik and
Enstrom before the period was done.
"That goes back to experience, I guess," Montoya said. "Being put in
that situation before, you've got a choice. You either go out there
and make a big save or you let the mental part of the game bother
"I'm a battler, and I'd like to think my teammates think the same of
me. So I responded and made a save, and they responded greatly."
Enstrom scored with less than three minutes left in the first period
to snap a 2-2 tie, while Jokinen found the back of the net just 29
seconds into the middle period to give the Jets some breathing room.
Stars goalie Tim Thomas was immediately pulled after Jokinen's goal
and was replaced by Cristopher Nilstorp, who saw his first action of
the season after being called up from the Texas Stars of the AHL on
March 9 when Kari Lehtonen got hurt.
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Late in the second period, Byfuglien hammered home his first of the
game on a point shot, beating Nilstorp cleanly.
Winnipeg was rock solid in both ends of the ice after tying the game
in the first period, holding down 3-2 and 5-2 leads at the period
"It's been a tough road for us these last six, so on our side we had
a team that was highly motivated and (ticked) off, and did all the
right things to be ready to go," said Wheeler, who took over the
team lead with 56 points. "We haven't many wins that weren't
one-goal games this year, so it was good to build a lead and keep
The Stars were 3-0-1 in their previous four games, and they were
winners in eight of their previous 12 contests.
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff drew no positives from the road loss Sunday.
"It's tremendously disappointing, there's no doubt. I'm disappointed
in the way we played," he said. "I didn't think we showed enough
resolve. We didn't compete hard enough on the walls, where we'd been
a good team. And when we were under a little bit of pressure, we
threw pucks into the middle of the ice.
"We made some big mistakes tonight."
Montoya posted a sound 25-save performance, improving his record to
11-5-3 this season in a backup role. He has made just five starts
since late January, but he is expected to get the nod in St. Louis
with starter Ondrej Pavelec on the mend.
Pavelec sustained a lower-body injury Friday night in a loss to the
Rangers, requiring the Jets to call up Michael Hutchinson from the
St. John's IceCaps of the AHL on Saturday. Hutchinson, 24, was
originally drafted by Boston, but he has yet to play in an NHL game.
In 2012, he suited up as a backup to Thomas, then the Bruins'
Nilstorp stopped 14 of the 17 shots he faced after Thomas stopped 13
NOTES: Stars C Cody Eakin and LW Ryan Garbutt are native
Winnipeggers who had to come up with dozens of tickets for the
friends and family. ... Dallas C Tyler Seguin has five goals and
four assists in three stops at Winnipeg. ... C Patrice Cormier,
called up from the AHL St. John's over the weekend, recorded a
first-period assist, his first point in very limited duty over three
seasons with the Jets. He had a goal and an assist in 21 games for
the Atlanta Thrashers during the 2010-11 season. ... Dallas D Sergei
Gonchar is just five points shy of 800 since he debuted in the NHL
during the 1994-95 campaign with Washington. The 19-year veteran,
who won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009, turns 40 years old on
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