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Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars

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The second road test against a Central Division rival takes place in Dallas.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars
Feb 24, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop (30) defends the goal against Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (55) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Jets defeat the Stars 5-3. 
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Where to watch/listen

Broadcast Schedule
Broadcast Schedule
Time: 6:00 P.M. CDT
TV: SN360, SNW, FS-SW
Radio: TSN1290, KTCK

It really doesn’t matter whether it’s game two or game 82, games against division rivals are important. The Winnipeg Jets and the Dallas Stars meet for the first time in the 2018-19 season tonight in Texas, with both teams looking to move to 2-0-0 on the year.

There can be only one.

The Dallas Stars went 0-4-0 against the Jets last year, getting outscored 18-8 in the process. The season before they went 1-4-0, and were outscored 23-11. A big part of those losses, or wins from the perspective of the Winnipeg Jets, has been Patrik Laine. Laine scored six goals against the Stars last year, to go with eight goals and four assists the year before (with two hat tricks). That’s 14 goals and four assists in nine games.

Move over Luke, there’s a new Starkiller in town.

Of course, this is a new season, and the Stars started off on the right foot, picking up a 3-0 shutout victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. Ben Bishop picked up the clean sheet, and will be hoping to do similar tonight.

The Jets are coming off a bit of a statement win, rolling over the Blues by a 5-1 scoreline. This came despite the fact that they were outshot 42-25. That part of their game will need to be cleaned up. Luckily for the Jets, Connor Hellebuyck was on his game, picking up right where his breakout season left off, and the offence was able to capitalize on numerous chances, earning the victory and kicking off the season in style.

Enemy Territory

Dallas Stars Coverage: Defending Big D

Last Jets Game:

Winnipeg Jets 5-1 St. Louis Blues

Kristian Vesalainen picked up his first NHL point, five different Jets scored, and Hellebuyck was Helle-good.

Last Stars Game:

Dallas Stars 3-0 Arizona Coyotes

Jamie Benn and Connor Carrick each had a pair of points, as Ben Bishop stopped all 30 shots he faced.

Players to watch:

Winnipeg Jets

NHL: Preseason-New Jersey Devils at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the Winnipeg Jets announced the opening day lineup, I was hoping the Jack Roslovic line would get a chance to spread their wings. Roslovic played just 9:07, while his linemates (Vesalainen 8:12; Ehlers 10:31) also found themselves watching a lot of hockey.

Roslovic and Vesalainen each notched assists, and it will be interesting to see what Rosco can do to earn more minutes as the season progresses.

Dallas Stars

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Bishop appeared in all four Stars losses to the Jets last year, and was the goaltender of record in two of them. His number on the year were right around average, which was not good enough for the Stars to make the post-season. Off to a good start, with his 25th career shutout, Bishop can be all the difference between the Stars returning to the playoffs, or missing them for the third straight season.