Jets get playoff boost after cooling off Stars
Ladd's pair help Winnipeg pull away from red-hot Dallas
The Winnipeg Jets returned home with a flourish Wednesday, trouncing the Dallas Stars and giving their playoff push renewed life.
Captain Andrew Ladd scored twice as the Jets cooled off the streaking Stars 5-2, capping the Pacific Division leaders' latest winning streak at six.
The win in the first of a three-game homestand gave Winnipeg a boost as the Jets try to work their way back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They are currently four points back of eighth-place Washington.
"As the home team we feel like if we can get on top of teams early and get momentum and get the crowd in it, then that first goal's huge and we've been able to do that a lot lately," Ladd said.
"Sometimes I think we play our best hockey against the top teams. We seem to get up for those games and simplify more and get away from the cute stuff."
Nik Antropov, Evander Kane and Eric Fehr also scored for the Jets (33-29-8).
Loui Eriksson had both goals for Dallas (39-27-5).
It was Fehr's debut as part of Winnipeg's hard-checking fourth line and coach Claude Noel said he acquitted himself well.
"We happened to score a little more than we probably anticipated," Noel said.
"I thought we generated things that we wanted to do. We caught them on a back to back."
Dallas, which won 1-0 in Minnesota Tuesday night, fell to 1-10-2 when playing the second of back-to-back games.
Goaltender Richard Bachman wouldn't use that as an excuse.
"I mean, obviously Winnipeg played a great game," he said. "They were moving the puck and they were good in transition. I think them having a little bit of rest their legs were moving extremely good."
A couple of shots went in off his head.
"I think there were times when I was tracking it pretty well and reading the play pretty well and other times when I just wasn't clicking."
Antropov opened scoring at 2:21 in the first period on a crisp wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that seemed to catch Bachman off guard.
Kane then struck early in the second to make it 2-0, slapping in Alexander Burmistrov's rebound at 1:19.
The Stars looked tired as they tried to keep up with the Jets, who were well-rested after a four-day break and drawing energy from the packed house screaming "Go Jets Go."
Fehr scored his second goal of the season on a breakaway at the 8:28 mark and it seemed to open the dam.
"I like to pretend I've done it before," he said with a laugh after the game when asked why he wasn't celebrating his rare goal a little more.
"It definitely felt good and it turned out to be an important goal for the team."
Less than a minute after Fehr's goal, Ladd was fed his own rebound by centre Bryan Little and banged it in to make it 4-0.
Ladd then tipped in Dustin Byfuglien's hard drive from his own blue-line 13 seconds into Winnipeg's second power-play chance of the night at 16:12.
Eriksson spoiled Ondrej Pavelec's shot at a fifth shutout this season while the Jets were still celebrating their fifth goal at 16:29.
Late in the third he slipped another past Pavelec from just in front of the net.
The last few minutes included a scuffle involving several players that gave Winnipeg one more power-play opportunity.
The melee at 17:13 of the third resulted in 10-minute misconducts to Dallas' Vernon Fiddler and Winnipeg's Tanner Glass and a game misconduct to the Stars' Adam Burish.
"Tanner Glass went to pick up his glove and Burish was dragging it over to the box," Noel said of how the tussle started.
He then threw it over the glass into the crowd.
"I think Tanner Glass thought 'I'm not going to put up with that,"' Noel said.
The Washington Capitals visit Winnipeg Friday.