December 6, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Some things just don’t go together.
Either they’re unsuitable — try to imagine Adam Sandler in Jaws — or they’re incompatible, like Glenn Healy and Mike Milbury on Hockey Night in Canada.
And then there are polar opposites, kind of like the way the Dallas Stars pass the puck and the way the Winnipeg Jets don’t.
Quick, crisp and accurate, the Stars blitzed the Winnipeg Jets for three first-period goals and made a no-contest of Friday night’s NHL game at the MTS Centre, winning 4-1 in a laugher.
Well, not very funny for the Jets. They tried mightily when they fell behind but started a six-game homestand with a third straight loss after winning their first two.
Dallas whipped the puck around with ownership attitude, frequently breaking through defensive seams and creating plenty of scoring chances.
If the Jets had any sequences of three consecutive quality passes, they were far too late and they paled in comparison.
"We knew they had fairly good balance on their lines with skill and speed," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "But it wasn’t only the speed, when you talk about quickness, it’s their puck movement.
"You look at their execution on transition and their execution just entering the zone, they make plays that are tape-to-tape and directed at your net."
Jets left-winger Evander Kane saw plenty of that.
"They put a lot of pucks towards the net and they’ve got a lot of moving parts in the D zone," Kane said. "It was tough to handle and they were able to score some goals.
"I think we’re focusing a little bit too much on what everybody’s saying and what the X’s and )’s are. I think we just need to go out and play hockey. I think we’re hesitant and when you’re in between, you get caught flat-footed."
New centre Tyler Seguin did plenty of damage, breaking out for a four-point night in his third game with the Stars.
Entering the game with just one assist, Seguin had two goals and two assists before the game was 26 minutes old.
Late in the demoralizing first and trailing 3-0, Noel put his forwards in the jumble bag and started with a whole new wave of combinations, including moving Kane with Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler.
"I understand they were up 3-0, 4-0, but to me we played with a lot more energy and whether that was the changing of the lines, I thought there were a lot more things we could build on," Noel said.
The first period was Friday’s obvious danger, given that the Stars were waiting in Winnipeg on Thursday night while the Jets were in St. Paul., losing 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild.
Even with all that, the other obvious difference was who buried chances and who didn’t.
Dallas scored three in a seven-minute span and for Winnipeg, Michael Frolik had a chance at an open net from close range, but couldn’t connect on the bouncing puck.
And Blake Wheeler’s last-minute breakaway was unsuccessful and the way these things go when they’re not going well, neither referee bothered with a hook on the hands by Dallas defenceman Trevor Daley.
Considering what passes for a penalty these days (see Thursday’s game in Minnesota), that exact thing will be a penalty shot on some nights this season.
"There were a couple of breakdowns which happen in hockey games," Wheeler said. "They got some opportunities that they capitalized on. I wouldn’t read any farther into it than that. They buried their chances at the right time and got too far ahead."
Updated on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 6:58 PM CDT:
Updated on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM CDT:
Updates headline after first period.
Updated on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM CDT:
Updates headline after second period, changes art.
Updated on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 9:38 PM CDT:
Updates headline after third period.
Updated on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 10:00 PM CDT:
Updated on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 10:30 PM CDT:
Adds slide show.
Updated on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM CDT:
Updates with complete writethru.