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DALLAS — The Winnipeg Jets won’t have to go searching high and low for 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 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.
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 in building a healthy lead they wouldn’t give up.
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.
Alexander Radulov opened the scoring a few minutes later, beating Connor Hellebuyck with a bank shot from a bad angle. Then things went from bad to worse as captain Blake Wheeler was whistled for goaltender interference. Tyler Seguin cashed in on the ensuing power play.
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.
Emotions spilled at the end of the period as Adam Lowry and Brett Ritchie dropped their gloves and exchanged several big punches.
Kyle Connor cut the deficit in half at 2:10 of the second period with a terrific individual effort to control the puck in the Dallas zone, play give-and-go with Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey and fire a shot just under the cross-bar. 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.
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 for Dallas’s top line when he beat a down-and-out Hellebuyck with a great backhander just under the crossbar later in the final frame.
Dallas’s top line was in on every goal, with Seguin (2G, 2A), Benn (2G, 1A) Radulov (1G, 2A) combining for 10 points.
Winnipeg has now been shorthanded nine times through the first two games of the year, and to describe things as “high-event” might be an understatement. They’ve killed off six penalties, surrendered three power play goals and scored what looked to be a pair of shorthanded markers. Adam Lowry’s counted in St. Louis, while Tanev’s in Dallas did not.
Winnipeg’s power play went 0-for-3 Saturday night, generating little in the way of dangerous chances.
The Jets flew home following the game, will have Sunday off and then return to practise on Monday to prepare for Tuesday’s home opener at Bell MTS Place against the Los Angeles Kings.
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.