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Byfuglien helps Jets soar past Stars 7-2

  • Associated Press
  • March 16, 2014 - 10:20 PM

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Dustin Byfuglien had two goals and an assist and Blake Wheeler added four assists as the Winnipeg Jets cruised past the Dallas Stars 7-2 on Sunday night.

The win pulled the Jets to within four points of the Stars for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, although Dallas has two games in hand.

Jacob Trouba, Michael Frolik, Evander Kane, Ollie Jokinen and Tobias Enstrom also scored for the Jets, who snapped a six-game winless streak that hurt their playoff chances. Jokinen and Enstrom each added two assists in the team's highest-scoring game this season.

Alex Chiasson and Tyler Seguin scored first-period goals for the Stars, who had earned points in their previous four games. The Jets scored the next six goals after Seguin had given the Stars a 2-1 lead 7:02 into the game.

Tim Thomas started in goal for Dallas, but stopped just 13 of the 17 shots before being pulled after Jokinen's goal 29 seconds into the second period made it 4-2. Cristopher Nilstorp, a 30-year-old goalie with five games of NHL experience, came off the bench and allowed three goals on 17 shots. The Stars lost regular starter Kari Lehtonen to a concussion on March 8.

Al Montoya, starting in place of the injured Ondrej Pavelec, survived a shaky start and finished with 25 saves on 27 shots, including Erik Cole's breakaway that could have given Dallas a two-goal lead.

After a wide-open first period, the Stars mustered only three shots on goal in the second as the Jets built a 5-2 lead.

Jokinen found himself all alone in front of Dallas' net after a pass from Wheeler and scored on a shifty deke to chase Thomas from the game.

Then, Byfuglien blasted a hard shot from the point on the power play to make it a three-goal lead.

The defenseman-turned-forward scored again early in the third — his 19th of the season — and moments later, nearly became the first Jets player to record a hat trick since the team relocated from Atlanta, but was stopped on a breakaway by Nilstorp.

The eventful night for Byfuglien ended with him leaving the game with a lower-body injury midway through the third period.

After Trouba opened the scoring at 3:11, the Stars took only four minutes to grab back the lead. Chiasson poked the puck under Montoya after the netminder appeared to have control of a point shot. Then, Seguin notched his 30th of the season after a pass from rookie Valeri Nichushkin.

Frolik tied it after a giveaway from Stars defenseman Alex Gologoski, and Enstrom put a pass from Wheeler past Thomas to give the Jets the lead for good.

NOTES: The Jets were also without C Jim Slater (lower body) and F Chris Thorburn (ankle), who were both injured Friday night in a loss to the New York Rangers. ... The NHL announced that the Stars will host the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 9 to make up the game that was suspended Monday when Dallas F Rich Peverley collapsed on the team's bench. The game will be 60 minutes, and will start with Columbus holding the 1-0 lead they had before the medical emergency.

© 2014 Star Tribune