Recap: Scheifele Leads Jets Past Stars

Mark Scheifele scored twice to lead his Winnipeg Jets past the Dallas Stars Thursday night. The 4-3 victory gave the visitors their first three-game win streak of the season.

“It’s important on the road and in our own division,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. “We have burned more games than the other teams so these head-to-heads are so critical as a confidence builder and we are all aware we can play at a higher level and play a better game of hockey in front of our goalie.”

Scheifele was pleased overall, saying “Our line was going. We were getting pucks deep. Our defense was getting a lot of shots through and we were creating a lot of second chances. Could have had a few, but it’s definitely big to get that win.”

Nikolaj Ehlers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Stars “could’ve had a few” as well, but the fickle finger of fate intervened.

“We had an empty net to put it in, we had Jamie Benn’s crossbar, you look at the attempts at the end of the night and we’re writing the same story again,” said Stars bench boss Lindy Ruff. “We made some mistakes.”

Adding injury to insult, Stars forward Jason Spezza left the game six minutes into the third period, following a big hit from Adam Lowry. He did not return, and Ruff said Spezza would miss some time, “probably more than days.”

While the Jets look to extend their season-best win streak Saturday against the struggling Colorado Avalanche, the Stars must reset quickly and prepare for a visit from the Chicago Blackhawks.

“We have to let this one go,” said Stars forward Patrick Eaves. “We can’t sit on this one too long. We will learn from our mistakes and be ready for Saturday, because we’re going to have our hands full with the Hawks.”

First Period

A deflected puck caught Tyler Seguin up high early in the opening period, sending him off the ice with a hand to his face. To the relief of Stars fans everywhere, however, he quickly returned to the game.

The Jets struck first at the 6:50 mark, as Bryan Little extended his hot streak with his sixth goal in the last six games.

Five minutes later, with rookie phenom Patrik Laine boxed for hi-sticking, the Stars’ John Klingberg needed just six seconds to tie the game.

The home team took the lead two minutes after Klingberg scored when Jamie Benn poked home the rebound of a Patrik Nemeth shot.

The Stars continued to apply pressure, working the puck deep into the Jets’ zone and generating chances. In the midst of one such shift by the Shore-Faksa-Sharp line, Radek Faksa’s pass back to the point from the right corner was picked off by Jets captain Blake Wheeler, setting up a three-on-two rush which was capped off by Scheifele’s first goal of the night.

The period ended with the score tied and the Stars leading 15-14 in shots.

Second Period

Scheifele’s game-tying goal late in the first period gave the Jets momentum heading into the second. Kari Lehtonen made several big saves early on to keep the game even, but when Cody Eakin was boxed for hooking at 4:05, the visitors seized on the man-advantage to take the lead just 30 seconds later…or so it seemed.

Ruff quickly used his Coach’s Challenge, and Scheifele’s second goal of the game was wiped out because Wheeler crossed the blue line ahead of the puck.

Seconds after the goal was nullified, Stars winger Antoine Roussel was penalized for interference, giving the Jets 1:21 of five-on-three power play time.

“I totally disagree with the call that gave them the 5-on-3,” said Ruff after the game. “There’s a battle like that on every faceoff in every zone and to go down 5-on-3, that’s a tough one.”

Ruff couldn’t change the referee’s minds, however, and the Stars continued on the penalty kill down two skaters. Jamie Benn electrified the crowd with a breakaway on the kill, but Ondrej Pavelec made the save of the night to deny a shorthanded goal.

Moments later, Scheifele scored his second, second goal of the night to give the Jets a 3-2 lead.

The Stars killed off the remainder of Roussel’s penalty and again ramped up the pressure on their opponents, putting pucks on, but not into, the net. The ice seemed tilted in the home team’s favor, until Lehtonen mis-played the puck behind his net:

Late in the period, the Stars pulled to within one when Eaves tucked in the rebound of Klingberg’s shot from the blue line.

The goal, Eaves’ 19th, gave the Stars forward 33 points on the season, a career high.


Third Period

17 seconds into the final period, Scheifele was whistled for goalie interference, sending the Stars to the power play. The home team’s best chance came on a shot from Seguin, but Pavelec made the key stop to preserve the Jets’ lead.

Shortly after the penalty was killed, Spezza was knocked out of the game by this hit:

Adam Cracknell moved into Spezza’s spot on Seguin’s line and the Stars continued to attack the Jets’ net. Out-shooting the visitors 14-3 in the third period, the Stars generated chance after chance, but Pavelec and luck kept the puck out. With five minutes remaining, Jamie Benn again wowed the crowd by dangling through the Jets’ defenders before rifling a shot which beat the goalie but rang off the crossbar.

Lehtonen vacated the net with 1:56 left. Even with the extra attacker, the game-tying goal eluded the Stars despite immense pressure on the visitors. The Stars out-shot the Jets 42-29, and the Jets blocked 29 shots on top of that.

Scoring Summary


WPG – Bryan Little (14) assisted by Nikolaj Ehlers (28) and Patrik Laine (19)

DAL – John Klingberg (8) (PPG) assisted by Jamie Benn (29)

DAL – Jamie Benn (15) assisted by Patrik Nemeth (2) and Patrick Eaves (14)

WPG – Mark Scheifele (24) assisted by Blake Wheeler (29)


WPG – Mark Scheifele (25) (PPG) assisted by Mathieu Perreault (13) and Dustin Byfuglien (26)

WPG – Nikolaj Ehlers (19) assisted by Patrik Laine (20)

DAL – Patrick Eaves (19) assisted by John Klingberg (22) and Jamie Benn (30)


No Scoring

THW Three Stars

First: Mark Scheifele (2 goals)

Second: Ondrej Pavelec (39 saves)

Third: Jamie Benn (1 goal, 2 assists)


Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars

American Airlines Center  7:00 p.m. CST on Saturday, Feb. 4

Broadcast channels: NHLN-US, FS-SW, WGN

2016-17 Season Series: November 5 – Blackhawks 3, Stars 2

November 6 – Blackhawks 4, Stars 3 (OT)

Winnipeg Jets at Colorado Avalanche

Pepsi Center  2:00 p.m. CST on Saturday, Feb. 4

Broadcast channels: ALT, TSN3

2016-17 Season Series: October 28 – Jets 1, Avalanche 0

November 11 – Avalanche 3, Jets 2 (OT)

December 18 – Jets 4, Avalanche 1