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'It's great playing at home'

Four-goal second period propels Jets past Dallas Thrashing the Stars

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It is often said the most-satisfying jobs are those sweat-soaked tasks you do yourself.

Case in point: we give you the Winnipeg Jets and their 5-2 throttling of the Dallas Stars in front of another packed house of 15,004 at MTS Centre.

Yes, weary of watching their rivals gobble up points while they sat idle -- and somewhat helpless -- over the last four days, the Jets rolled up their sleeves and jack-hammered themselves back into the Eastern-Conference playoff picture with a thrashing of a Stars squad that had rolled into town on a 10-0-1 run.

The result inched the Jets, now 33-29-8 and still in 10th, closer to that coveted eighth spot in the conference with Buffalo losing 5-4 in a shootout to Colorado after giving up the tying goal with two seconds remaining.

The Jets have 74 points, one back of the ninth-place Sabres, four behind eighth-place Washington Capitals and five back of the Southeast Division-leading Florida Panthers.

And just to make things even juicier, the Capitals are here on Friday for a critical division matchup.

"It's great playing at home, but we've got to win on the road, too," said centre Jim Slater. "We've got a big, big game on Friday night and that's where our attention is now.

"This late in the season you just want to keep rolling. You get in that mode where you're playing almost every other day. It's a fun mode to be in so with these days off here we got guys rested up really well, healed some injuries and got some good practice in. It was good to get back out there and even better to get a win."

Following what has become a familiar script at home, the Jets opened the scoring 2:21 into the game when Nik Antropov took an Antti Miettinen feed and rifled it over Richard Bachman's shoulder.

Winnipeg then exploded for four goals in the middle frame -- including Evander Kane's team-leading 28th and a pair 47 seconds apart by Eric Fehr and Andrew Ladd -- against a Dallas outfit that had played Tuesday night in Minnesota and looked weary and dead-legged for long stretches.

Among the themes Jets fans have seen before at the MTS Centre that once again played out again:

-- When scoring first Winnipeg is now 23-10-3;

-- The Jets' power-play, ranked No. 1 at home in the NHL, scored again when Ladd tipped home a Dustin Byfuglien shot for his second goal and 23rd of the season and went one for three overall;

-- Icky on the road with an 11-19-4 mark, the Jets improved their home record to 22-10-4, among the very best in the NHL. Winnipeg has now won three straight at home and, in amassing a 6-1-2 record in their last nine at the MTS Centre have filled the net with 37 goals -- an average of 4.11 per game;

-- And once again goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, making his sixth consecutive start, was solid in kicking out 30 shots.

"We played really good," said Pavelec. "We were disciplined, we played really well and scored goals. Everything we did was right and now we have to keep going and take advantage of the home games.

"I don't know what it is... at home we start right away and defend really well right from the first faceoff. And that's how you win games. We had a lot of energy tonight."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

jets report c3

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2012 C1

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