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Game Day Preview: Stars @ Jets

The Winnipeg Jets will kick off a 6 game, 11 day home stand tonight against the Dallas Stars looking to end a two game losing streak that has raised many concerns about the team’s overall direction.

Jets vs Stars

When: Friday, October 11, 2013

Time: 7:00 p.m. CST

Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB

Records: Winnipeg (2-2-0), Dallas (1-1-0)

Television/Radio: TSN-Jets, FS-SW/TSN 1290 Radio

The Story:  The Winnipeg Jets will kick off a six- game, 11-day home stand tonight against the Dallas Stars looking to end a two game losing streak that has raised many concerns about the team’s overall direction.

The Jets were defeated 2-1 by the Minnesota Wild Thursday night and were again badly outplayed in all three zones. The Jets were outshot by a 30-15 margin but perhaps of more concern is the effort that was displayed by a team that had three days off prior to the game to prepare. Despite the fact that the last two games the Jets have played have been one-goal games, they have been dominated and outworked by the opposition, a bad sign for a team that doesn’t win many hockey games relying solely on natural skill.

It may only be four games into the season, but the Jets have simply not shown a greater committment to team defense in the early stages of the 2013’14 regular season. Winnipeg has often looked disorganized in their own zone and even basic fundamentals of hockey like breakouts have seemed difficult at times.

In regards to the “compete level” that the Jets have shown over the last two games, it has been discouraging to the say the least as the Jets brought in players such as Michael Frolik, Devin Setoguchi and Matt Halischuk in the off-season to make the team more well-rounded, but so far the results have been mixed. It should be noted that Frolik and Setoguchi have been two of the team’s best players through the first four games of the season while Halischuk was solid in his first game of the season last night.

Amazingly, Dallas,the Jets opponent tonight, has only played two games this season and have not played since last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. The Stars schedule is going to get a lot busier however as they will play six games in the next nine days, including five of those on the road.

This current Dallas Stars team is much different than the team the Jets saw two years ago at the MTS Centre as new Stars General Manager Jim Nill made significant moves over the offseason to try to get his team into the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing out over the last five seasons.

The biggest move Nill made in the summer was shipping longtime Star Loui Eriksson, along with Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button. Seguin and Peverley have brought a combination of youth, grit and skill to a team that has been lacking an identity over the past few years. In addition to the the trade with Boston, Nill also signed Shawn Horcoff to be the team’s third line center. Those moves, combined with the play of impressive rookies Alex Chiasson and Valeri Nichushkin has hockey fans in Dallas more optimistic than they’ve been in a long time.

Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in net for the Dallas Stars tonight.

Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets tonight.

Projected Winnipeg Jets Line Combinations:

Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane-Mark Scheifele-Devin Setoguchi
Eric Tangradi-Olli Jokinen-Michael Frolik
James Wright-Jim Slater-Matt Halischuk

Tobias Enstrom-Zach Bogosian
Grant Clitsome-Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart-Jaocb Trouba

Ondrej Pavelec
Al Montoya

Healthy Scratches: Anthony Peluso, Paul Postma

Projected Dallas Stars Line Combinations:

Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Rich Peverley
Ray Whitney-Cody Eakin-Alex Chiasson
Antoine Roussel–Shawn Horcoff-Erik Cole
Ryan Garbutt- Vernon Fiddler- Valeri Nichushkin

Alex Goligoski-Sergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon- Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley-Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

Healthy Scratches: Kevin Connauton, Lane MacDermid, Chris Mueller

Injury Report:

Dallas Stars: Aaron Rome (hip surgery)

Winnipeg Jets:  Chris Thorburn (lower body, questionable)

QUICKIESDustin Byfuglien (1 goal, 4 assists) and Tobias Enstrom (0 goals, five assists) are tied for 2nd most points amongst defensemen in the NHL……Olli Jokinen needs one more point for career point #700……Jets 2013 4th Round Pick Andrew Copp had a goal and two assists for the University of Michigan last night in a 3-1 win over Boston College.….