Stars can’t afford slip-up versus Jets


The Dallas Stars may have broken a four-game winless slide Saturday; however, that 3-1 win over the hapless Ottawa Senators hasn’t quite eased the nervousness among the team’s fans. As we noted last week, this is a franchise that’s made a habit of late-season collapses. And it’s been trending that way again.

Per Sports Club Stats, the Stars’ chances of qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2008 are currently at 48.1 percent. Not long ago, they peaked at almost 80 percent.

Tonight, the Stars host Winnipeg. Tomorrow, they’re in Chicago to play the Blackhawks. It doesn’t take a genius to predict which of the two games should be easier to win.

And with the Phoenix Coyotes two points up on Dallas for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, it doesn’t take a genius to figure the Stars really need to win the games they’re supposed to.

“Our team has answered almost every call this year,” coach Lindy Ruff said Saturday. “From the tough stretch we went through in January to this little bit of a tough stretch.”

Before beating Ottawa — a team in complete disarray, it should be noted — the Stars had lost three straight in regulation by a combined score of 16-5. One of those defeats was to the Jets, by a score of 7-2 on Mar. 16 in Winnipeg.

The Stars have another tough back-to-back on Friday and Saturday, when they host Nashville first then travel to play in St. Louis the next night.