WINNIPEG, MB - If there was anyone who thought the Winnipeg Jets may suffer a little road rust after spending 10 straight games at home, the Jets quickly silenced those critics, coming away with their second consecutive win away from Bell MTS Place with a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars.
Things didn’t start off well for the Jets as Dallas found the back of the net just 10 seconds into the first period, but the Jets took over after that, scoring five unanswered goals en route to a 5-3 win.
It was the Jets stars who were the difference against the Stars. Patrik Laine scored twice to go over the 30-goal plateau, Nikolaj Ehlers fired home his 24th, Mark Scheifele netted his 19th, and Toby Enstrom found the back of the net for his first goal since Nov.3, 2016.
Michael Hutchinson started his first game for the Jets since Jan. 30, making 33 saves on the night to improve to 2-0-0 on the season.
With the win, the Jets (37-16-9) move into a tie for first place in the Central Division with the Nashville Predators with 83 points. The Predators will visit Bell MTS Place on Tuesday night.
Dallas got on the board early after the Jets lost a faceoff in their own zone, Tyler Pitlick fired a shot over the glove of Hutchinson just 10 seconds into the game.
It stayed that way until the middle frame as the Jets took their game to another level. Nikolaj Ehlers tied things up 49 seconds into the second, blasting a slapshot that beat Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, opening the flood gates for Winnipeg.
Two minutes later Laine was sprung free on a breakaway but was slashed just as he was about to shoot, setting up his first penalty shot opportunity of his NHL career. Laine was unsuccessful as Lehtonen got a piece of the shot with his blocker, keeping the game tied.
Winnipeg kept pressing and at 6:33 Jack Roslovic made a move at the Stars blueline and dropped a pass to Enstrom who snapped a shot through the legs of Lehtonen, ending an 87-game scoring drought.
Less than two minutes later Mark Scheifele ripped a shot from the slot on the power play that beat Lehtonen to extend the lead to 3-1. Blake Wheeler picked up an assist, extending his point streak to eight games (4G, 10A).
Laine would fire home his second of the game and 30th of the season just under five minutes later after a feed from Ehlers found him in the slot and Laine made no mistake, giving Winnipeg a 4-1 lead and thus ending the night for Lehtonen. With the goal Laine became just the seventh player in NHL history to record multiple 30-goal seasons as a teenager, and is the first since Sidney Crosby (2005-07)
Laine wasn’t done, bending the twine one more time with a shot from the right side that beat Ben Bishop and extending the Jets lead to 5-1.
Tyler Seguin stopped the bleeding for the Stars, hammering a slapshot over Hutchinson just under the crossbar, to get the Stars back within three heading to the third period.
The score would stay the same until the final minute when Alex Radulov overpowered a shot past Hutchinson, but that’s as close as the Stars would get on the night.
Jets Dustin Byfuglien finished the night with a season-high three assists, extending his point streak to six games. Byfuglien has 11 points (1G, 10A) during the streak.
Winnipeg now heads home where they begin a two-game home-stand beginning Tuesday against the Predators before welcoming the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.
Bill Burfoot, Manitoba Post