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This article was published 6/10/2018 (550 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
DALLAS — The Winnipeg Jets won’t have to go looking very far for clues as to what went wrong Saturday night in Dallas.
Undisciplined play, a leaky penalty kill and far too many quality chances against added up to a fairly predictable and certainly justified 5-1 loss to the Stars at American Airlines Center.
Winnipeg falls to 1-1-0, while Dallas improves to 2-0-0.
Consider this: the Jets gave up 35 shots Saturday night after surrendering 42 in Thursday’s 5-1 win over St. Louis. That adds up to an ugly 77 through six periods of hockey, which isn’t exactly a long-term winning formula.
They also handed Dallas five chances with their potent power play — including four before the game was barely 25 minutes old. The Stars connected three times as they ultimately ran away with this one.
"We didn’t give ourselves a chance to get going," head coach Paul Maurice said following the defeat. "We were a little slow with everything we do, our sticks weren’t very good, with the puck, without the puck. We didn’t do enough to knock things down."
Dallas’s top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov had their way with Winnipeg as they were in on every goal and combined for 10 points.
"I thought we came out a little bit flat and it kind of flatlined throughout the game for us," defenceman Josh Morrissey said.
Winnipeg’s strategy of being aggressive and crashing the crease proved costly. Brandon Tanev appeared to open the scoring early in the first period with Ben Chiarot in the penalty box for tripping, making a nifty drive to the net and burying his own rebound.
There was just one problem: the speedy Jets winger bumped Dallas goalie Ben Bishop seconds earlier and officials immediately waved it off due to goalie interference.
"I might have got a piece of him. He might have been out too far. Ultimately, it’s the refs call and he decided to move on, so you’ve got to move on from there," Tanev said.
Maurice said he never considered challenging the call because the NHL sent out a pre-season memo warning teams it would be extremely difficult to overturn these types of calls.
"I thought (Tanev) got pushed, but I didn’t think I had any chance at all of getting it overturned," Maurice said.
Dallas appeared to gain momentum from the develop as Radulov opened the scoring a few minutes later, beating Connor Hellebuyck with a bank shot from a bad angle. Things went from bad to worse less than three minutes later as captain Blake Wheeler was whistled for goaltender interference and Seguin cashed in on the ensuing power play.
"I think they all have a different skill set. They’re similar to our top line. They read off each other so well. You’ve got Seguin with the unbelievable shot. Benn’s kind of the prototypical power forward. He’s got speed, but he’s got skill. He plays a heavy game and gets around the net. And Radulov, you’ve seen his highlights, the skill and he’s a big body. They work so well off each other. I think when you give them time and space and you give them that many power play opportunities, they’re going to hurt you. And tonight they did," forward Adam Lowry said.
Rather than learn from their mistakes, the Jets doubled-down.
Winnipeg killed off a Tyler Myers infraction later in the period and looked poised to get their first power play of the game late in the period, only to have Dustin Byfuglien negate it with a careless cross-check.
Kyle Connor gave the Jets some life just 2:10 of the second period with a terrific individual effort to control the puck in the Dallas zone, playing give-and-go with Morrissey and firing a shot just under the crossbar. It’s the second goal in as many games for the sophomore winger.
But Winnipeg gave it right back when Byfuglien was sent to the sin bin for holding the stick and Jamie Benn was left alone in front of the net, finally knocking home his third whack of the puck to make it 3-1. That goal particularly struck a nerve with Maurice.
"We’ve got enough people in front there that you should (be) better than that," he said.
Benn struck again near the midway mark of the third period with Myers once again in the box. It took just six seconds after the high-sticking penalty for Dallas to convert.
Seguin then finished off a great night when he beat a down-and-out Hellebuyck with a great backhander just under the crossbar later in the final frame.
Seguin had two goals and two assists, Benn had two goals and an assist, while Radulov had a goal and two assists.
"They were buzzing tonight from the drop of the puck," Morrissey said. "PK, we just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. When you’re playing against some guys like they have over there that have that elite skill, you can’t afford to be a half-step off it or not bang-on and firing."
Winnipeg has been short-handed nine times through the first two games of the year, and to describe things as "high-event" might be an understatement. They’ve given up 27 shots, killed off six penalties, surrendered three power play goals and scored what looked to be a pair of short-handed markers. Lowry’s counted in St. Louis, while Tanev’s in Dallas did not.
"As a penalty-kill group, we can do a better job of getting into some shot lanes and working things out. We can look at the video and as a group, we can get better there," Tanev said. "We just got away from our game at times and they capitalized on some chances. As a group, we can learn from that and moving forward, we understand what we need to do."
Winnipeg’s power play went 0-for-3 Saturday night, generating little in the way of chances.
"They were better than us. I just don’t think we were very good. I think there’s a lot of areas we can clean up," Lowry said. "Even from the St. Louis game, I think we were just a step off. I think when we’re not on puck and not making their D turn and we’re turning off things, we’re an easy team to play against. And I think it showed (Saturday night)."
The Jets flew home following the game and return to practice on Monday to prepare for Tuesday’s home opener at Bell MTS Place against the Los Angeles Kings.
"It’s not a wake-up call or anything like that, but it just goes to show that every night in this league is extremely hard. And we need to come ready to play Tuesday night," Morrissey said.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.
Updated on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 11:21 PM CDT: Writethru