Two teams that had very good Novembers are hoping December brings just as much good fortune. The Dallas Stars (15-10-3) and Winnipeg Jets (16-10-1) are currently tied at 33 points, with Tuesday night’s winner getting sole possession of third place in the Central Division.
Here is a preview for Tuesday night’s matchup between the Stars and Jets in Winnipeg, along with odds and a pick.
By The Numbers
The Stars have been incredibly streaky, evident by a seven-game winning streak last month where the offense was on fire to now riding a three-game losing streak with only three total goals during that stretch. Through 28 games, Dallas is 24th in goals per game with 2.64 and 21st in shots with 30.6. They also boast the seventh-worst power-play rate in hockey.
Regardless of if it is scoring goals, Dallas is still doing a good job of not allowing them. The Stars are third in goals allowed with 2.36 and give up the 10th-fewest shots per game at 30.9. They also come in at a respectable 11th in penalty-kill percentage.
Meanwhile, the Jets are also a team that can get hot on offense, netting three or more goals in four straight games before cooling off to the tune of one goal in their most recent game. As a whole, Winnipeg isn’t much better than the Stars statistically, ranking 21st in goals per game with 2.78 and 15th in shots with 31.6. It is also just one spot ahead of Dallas in terms of the power play, coming in at 24th.
Thanks to some very good goaltending, the Jets allow the seventh-fewest goals per game with 2.78 despite also allowing the fourth-most shots at 33.2. They don’t go on the penalty kill often thanks to being the least-penalized team in hockey but rank only 24th when they’re a man down.
Who To Watch
Prior to their three-game losing streak, the Stars went 11-0-1 from Oct. 29 to Nov. 25. A big part of that has been the return of captain Jamie Benn. After a slow start, Benn heated up during Dallas’ winning streak and is now up to five goals and nine assists on the season. Among other Stars, Tyler Seguin (six goals, 15 assists) leads the team in points, while Alex Radulov (eight goals, seven assists), Roope Hintz (11 goals, two assists), and Miro Heiskanen (six goals, 11 assists) are also guys to watch.
For the Jets, a pair of All-Star forwards is heating up. Patrik Laine and Blake Wheeler are in the middle of hot streaks, with Laine earning five points in his last three games and Wheeler racking up six points in his last four games. That stretch is especially nice for Wheeler, who had a slow start but is now up to six goals and 12 assists.
Meanwhile, Laine leads in points with 25, while Mark Scheifele (nine goals 15 assists), Kyle Connor (10 goals, 11 assists), and Nikolaj Ehlers (12 goals, eight assists) aren’t far behind.
In net for Dallas, Ben Bishop is hitting the bench in favor of veteran Anton Khudobin. Khudobin has been a more-than-capable backup, sitting at 6-4-1 with a 2.14 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Winnipeg will counter with its regular starter Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck is having a great season so far, tying for the league lead in wins with a record of 13-7-1 along with a 2.23 GAA and .933 save percentage.
Odds And Pick
These are two evenly-matched teams with the same number of points in the standings. So it’s no surprise to see the Jets at home favored ever so slightly, listed at -110. In what’s going to be a great game, I worry a little about Winnipeg’s injuries and its overall trend of allowing lots of shots. While Hellebuyck has been able to deal with that, I think it’ll cost the Jets against a Stars team that is desperate to regain momentum. Give me the Stars +110.