Laine scores twice, Jets beat Stars to tie for Central lead
Feb. 25, 2018
DALLAS (AP) — Michael Hutchinson wasn't concerned when Dallas' Tyler Pitlick scored in the first 10 seconds of the Winnipeg goalie's first game in 25 days.
"The first goal's not that important," Hutchinson said. "We have 59 minutes and 50 seconds to come back and get another one. We were able to battle back."
The Jets didn't need that much time on Saturday night. They scored five goals in the second period and went on to beat the Stars 5-3.
Patrik Laine scored two goals and Dustin Byfuglien had three assists in the period.
"I thought Dustin Byfuglien was the best player on the ice tonight," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. "He knocked some pucks down, broke up so many plays and then the offensive part of his game is the best hockey I've ever seen him play."
Winnipeg moved into a tie with Nashville atop the Central Division. The Jets have outscored opponents 29-12 in winning five of their last six.
Hutchinson, who has won both of his NHL starts this season, finished with 33 saves.
"He made some really good saves," Maurice said. "He gave us a chance to win the game tonight with his play. That's what you ask from those guys."
Byfuglien assisted on the first three goals, by Nikolaj Ehlers, Toby Enstrom and Mark Scheifele. On the fourth, assists went to Ehlers and the goalkeeper. It was the first assist of Hutchinson's 101-game career.
Ehlers started Winnipeg's scoring and finished it with assists on Laine's goals. In eight career games against Dallas, Laine has 16 points (12 goals, 4 assists).
"His shot is pretty unique," Ehlers said. "He can put it in pretty much from anywhere, so he's playing well against these guys."
The second-year player had a chance for another goal early in the second, but his penalty shot went wide.
"Most times Patty doesn't score, you still think he could have had three or four," Maurice said. "Didn't miss on the penalty shot by much."
Dallas' Kari Lehtonen made 17 saves on 21 shots. Ben Bishop replaced Lehtonen after the fourth goal with 8:01 left in the second and stopped five of six shots.
Tyler Seguin scored for the Stars late in the second. Alexander Radulov added a goal with 47 seconds to play. They each assisted on the other's goal.
The Stars' lead for the first wild card in the Western Conference dropped to one point over Calgary.
"We were in a position to take a big step," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We didn't take it. They made us pay for every mistake."
Dallas took a quick lead after Radek Faksa won a faceoff, and the puck went back to Pitlick in the left faceoff circle. He unloaded a snap shot past Hutchinson into the upper right corner of the net.
Laine reached 30 goals for the second straight season with a snap shot from the right circle and added number 31 from the slot at with 1:13 left in the period.
NOTES: Six of Scheifele's 19 goals this season have come in three games against Dallas. ... Winnipeg has won the first three games of the season series by a combined score of 14-6. ... Pitlick's goal was his career-high 12th of the season. It was the earliest goal off a faceoff in Stars history. ... Hutchinson has spent most of this season with Manitoba of the AHL. ... Enstrom has 54 career goals but had not scored in 87 games since his 53rd on Nov. 3, 2016. ... Dallas is 1 for 18 on the power play in its last eight games. ... Winnipeg D Tyler Myers skated gingerly off the ice late in the third period after blocking a shot. Maurice said he believed Myers was OK.
Jets: Return home to face Nashville on Tuesday.
Stars: Play the second in a five-game homestand on Tuesday vs. Calgary.
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