Winnipeg and Dallas, two division rivals locked in a battle for the eighth and final playoff spot will meet Sunday in Winnipeg in a huge matchup. Over the past couple weeks Dallas has gained a huge advantage in the race to the playoffs, however this is a big 4 point game that could help get the Jets back in the race, or take them off of life support. In Winnipeg this season the Stars have owned the Jets taking both games and scoring a total of 10 goals. The Jets earned a shootout victory in Dallas back in October, and will visit once more near the end of March to finish the season series. Jets and Stars with huge stakes, Lets Go!
The Dallas Stars have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL as of late. It seems during the entire time that Paul Maurice has taken over the Jets and the surge that followed, the Stars have not lost. The Stars have not lost two straight since January and have pulled away from the pack racing for that last playoff spot. The Stars strength comes from their offence, ranked 11th in the league in goals for, they have had no problem putting the puck in the net. With two guys who have over 60 points already this season the Stars pack a punch and are very dangerous off the rush. The one question mark for the Stars is in the net. After the loss of number one goalie Kari Lehtonen, the Stars went out at the deadline and picked up veteran Tim Thomas. Though Thomas does have a Stanley Cup and has been an elite goalie in the NHL some say he is past his prime, and his numbers this year have not been spectacular. He plays for a team that can score luckily, but when the Stars run into a team as offensivly talented as they are they will find themselves in trouble.
Make it 6 losses in a row for the Jets after a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. Winnipeg managed to jump out to a 2-1 lead in the first period but could manage no more the rest of the game and gave up the final three goals. Added to the loss of the game, the Jets also lost the services of both Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Thorburn, who left the game with injuries and will not be ready for Sundays match up with the Stars. The Jets chances at playoff hockey have been pretty much dashed during this losing streak but a loss to the Stars, the team they’re chasing, would slam the door shut barring a miracle. The load falls on to the shoulders of Al Montoya who has been very good for the Jets this season, and looks to have at least a couple games to continue to prove himself. The 29 year old that will head to free agency this summer will not only be playing for his team, but possibly for a job, whether it be with Winnipeg or else where.
Must Win: I haven’t said it yet but this game is most certainly a must win. If they lose to the team they are chasing this late in the season it is all over.
Get dirty: The Jets have not been managing goals, however Dallas can be susceptible to giving up some crooked numbers. Get to the dirty areas, battle in front of the net, and pick up some of that garbage.
Turnovers: The Stars quick attack has already hurt the Jets a few times this season. If Winnipeg turns the puck over and gives up odd man rushes they will be pulling the puck out of their net all night.
Al Montoya (10-5-3) GAA: 2.20 SV% .924
Tim Thomas (18-20-4) GAA: 2.83 SV% .910
Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out
Scheifele WPG, (MCL) out
Wright WPG, (lower body) out
Pavelec WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Thorburn WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Eakin DAL, (lower body) day-to-day
Peverley DAL, (heart condition) out
Lehtonen DAL, (concussion) out
Robidas DAL, (broken leg) out
Stars put final nail in the coffin
Stars 5 Jets 3
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.