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Jets begin difficult road swing with Stars in their eyes

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DALLAS -- They say everything’s bigger here and the Winnipeg Jets have a Texas-sized hill to climb over the last 10 games of the regular season if the playoffs are to become a reality.

The Jets wake up in Dallas today with 73 points, six back of the Phoenix Coyotes and the final wild card berth. In between the Coyotes and the Jets sit the Vancouver Canucks with 76 points and tonight’s opponent the Dallas Stars (7 p.m. Jets on TSN, TSN 1290) at 77.

The Jets have very little wiggle room and Saturday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes tightened the margin even more.

Winnipeg has been hit with a spate of injuries, poor goaltending and loose defensive play at the worst time and it’s had a direct hit on their wins and losses.

The Jets have only won two of their last 10 games and allowed 33 goals over that time for an average of 3.3 per night -- not good enough to win consistently in the NHL.

The Jets will again be with out No. 1 goalie Ondrej Pavelec leaving coach Paul Maurice with career backup Al Montoya and young Michael Hutchinson to choose from. Montoya will likely get his fifth straight start.

Defenceman Zach Bogosian is also questionable for tonight.

The Jets recently beat the Stars 7-2 defeat at MTS Centre on Mar. 17. The Stars and Jets have met four times so far this season with each team winning twice.

Winnipeg is 15-16-3 on the road this season and under head coach Paul Maurice they’ve been 6-3-2 away from home.

Saturday’s loss to Carolina was Winnipeg’s 40th one-goal game of the season. Winnipeg’s record in one-goal games fell to 18-13-9. The Jets are tied for third in the NHL for the most one-goal games played this season with the Calgary Flames (42) and New Jersey Devils (41) ahead of them.

Dallas beat the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night and is 1-3-1 in its last five games but 6-1-1 in their last eight at home.

The Stars have a pair of 30-goal scorers in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Pittsburgh and Anaheim are the only other NHL teams with a two 30-goal men. Seguin has give goals and nine points in four games against the Jets to date this season.

 

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

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