Dallas Stars (7-5 SU, 5-7 PL, 6-6 O/U) vs. Winnipeg Jets (6-3-2 SU, 6-5 PL, 7-4 O/U)
NHL: Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Winnipeg Jets -115/Dallas Stars -105. Total: 6.
The Winnipeg Jets have won two straight games heading into a home date with the Dallas Stars at the MTS Centre on Thursday night. Winnipeg is coming off consecutive victories over Pittsburgh and Minnesota. The Stars have won two in a row of their own after edging Vancouver in overtime on Monday.
In addition to a two-game streak to the good, Dallas has won six of its last eight outings after beating the Canucks 2-1 in overtime Monday. Forward Alexander Radulov scored the game-winner during the extra frame and assisted on the Stars’ other score to give him three goals and three assists in his past three contests. Dallas survived against Vancouver despite giving up 39 shots on goal thanks to an outstanding performance from goaltender Ben Bishop (38 saves), who earned his sixth victory. Forward Jamie Benn leads the team with 14 points and has four goals and three assists in his past five games. The Stars lead the NHL in power-play percentage (30.8 percent) and gave gone 6-for-13 with the man advantage in the past three games.
“The thing I like most about Rads is he is not afraid of the moment,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said of Radulov. “This is four or five games now where he is not afraid of the moment, and that’s why we brought him here.”
Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice pushed his team during a stretch of five off days last month, urging it to play at a higher tempo. That work is paying off so far for the Jets, who have won two games in a row while earning at least a point in four straight since the break. A big reason for the hot stretch is strong goaltending from Connor Hellebuyck and an overall faster pace of play that has resulted in nine goals in the past two contests.
“I think we’re playing faster,” Maurice said following Tuesday’s 2-1 victory at Minnesota, two days after Winnipeg pounded defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh 7-1. “That’s the style of game we have to play.”
Hellebuyck continues to earn playing time, ranking fifth in the NHL in save percentage (.940) and goals-against average (1.91). Forward Nikolaj Ehlers scored his seventh goal in 11 games Tuesday, but the Jets’ high-powered offense ranks tied for 21st in the league in scoring (33).
The Dallas Stars are:
- 14-32 in their last 46 road games
- 10-24 in their last 34 games against teams with winning records
- 7-20 in their last 27 games against the Central Division
The Winnipeg Jets are:
- 13-5 in their last 18 overall
- 9-2 in their last 11 home games
- 4-0 in their last four games against the Western Conference
Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler went without a point on Tuesday, but he previously recorded his second career hat trick during a four-point performance against the Penguins. The Jets are 27-for-31 (87.1 percent) on their penalty kill in the past nine games, killing 15 of opponents’ last 16 opportunities with the man advantage. Winnipeg dominated the season series in 2016-17, taking four of the five matchups while outscoring the Stars 23-11. Dallas is 14-32 in its last 46 on the road, 10-24 in its last 34 against winning opponents, 5-21 in its last 26 on the road against opponents with winning home records, 7-20 in its last 27 against the Central Division, and 12-31 in its last 43 following a win. The Jets are 13-5 in their last 18 overall, 9-2 in their last 11 at home, 4-0 in their last four against the Western Conference, 11-1 in their last 12 playing on one day of rest, 9-2 in their last 11 following a win, 21-8 in their last 29 against the Central Division, and 4-0 in the last four meetings between the two teams. Look for those trends to continue.