The Dallas Stars look to take their new attitude and winning ways on the road when they visit the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday afternoon for a Central Division showdown at Bell MTS Place.
The Stars (22-16-4, 48 points) head to Winnipeg on the heels of a thrilling 2-1 overtime win at home over Washington on Friday. Tyler Seguin scored both Dallas goals in the victory, including the game-winner with 1:23 remaining in the three-on-three extra period.
Dallas is 6-2-1 in its past nine games and took seven of a possible eight points during a four-game homestand that ended with Friday's win, which also secured the season-sweep of the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals.
Backup goalie Anton Khudobin also starred for Dallas in the win, turning away 36 shots. Washington pushed hard for the win in the third period, outshooting the Stars 14-2 over the final 20 minutes of regulation, but Khudobin was up to the task, outlasting two Capitals power plays and numerous scoring threats.
Stars rookie coach Jim Montgomery said after the win that his team cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
"Our troubles come from when we have success," Montgomery said. "We get way too comfortable and we have games like we did tonight. That's the history of our season, and it's really the history of last three years."
Dallas is just 8-11-2 on the road this season, but Montgomery said those struggles have nothing to do with playing away from home.
"It's not the road, it's our mentality," Montgomery told NHL.com. "We don't change at the right times, and our shifts are too long. Any time we face adversity, we don't dig in, we take shortcuts. That's why we're an inconsistent hockey team."
The Stars played on Friday without captain Jamie Benn, who missed the game because of an upper-body injury. Benn, who played in all 82 games in three of the past four seasons, is expected to return at Winnipeg on Sunday.
Winnipeg (25-13-2, 52 points) has lost three of its past four games, but still led the Central heading into Saturday's matches. The Jets were walloped 4-0 at Pittsburgh on Friday after forward Nikolaj Ehlers left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. He will be out until mid February, head coach Paul Maurice said Saturday.
The Jets had won eight of their past nine contests away from home before Friday but were limited to a handful of quality shots by the Pittsburgh defense in the shutout.
"They were faster than we were, that's a fact," Maurice said of the Penguins, who have won eight straight games. "But they looked like they've looked recently on their streak. They looked quick. They have real good sticks and they knocked a lot of stuff down on defense."
The Jets' Blake Wheeler said Ehlers' injury changed the dynamics of the game.
"We kind of lose an entire line off of that, so it kind of ruins your rhythm, ruins some of the things you are trying to do, some of the matchups you are trying to go after," Wheeler explained. "Obviously Nikky is having a good year for us, scored some big goals, so anytime you lose a player like that it's tough on your lineup."
The Stars beat Winnipeg 5-1 on Oct. 6 in Dallas, the only other meeting between the two teams so far this season. They will also play in Dallas on Jan. 19 and in Winnipeg on March 25.
Updated January 5, 2019