High praise for Pavelec after Jets hold off Stars

AP
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DALLAS (AP) Mark Scheifele has hurt the Dallas Stars even more than the other teams in the Central Division.

Scheifele scored two more goals against Dallas and narrowly missed two others, propelling the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory Thursday night.

At the other end, Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec made a season-high 39 saves.

Scheifele has five goals in four games between the teams this season, with the Jets winning three. He has a seven-game point streak against the Stars, with seven goals and seven assists.

“When you’re playing against teams in your division, you’ve got to buckle down,” Scheifele said. “They’re big points. Especially after the All-Star break, things ramp up.”

Dallas led 2-1 until Scheifele tied the game with 53 seconds left in the first period. He gave the Jets a 3-2 lead during a 5-on-3 power play 5:56 into the second.

The Stars just missed going ahead despite the two-man disadvantage. Jamie Benn, who had a goal and two assists, had a short-handed breakaway.

“Goalie made a good save, and then (I) kind of made a mistake in the defensive end and they put it in the back of the net,” Benn said.

Just 23 seconds later, Scheifele scored from the inside edge of the right faceoff circle.

“Go back a year and a half ago, the number of posts that (Scheifele) hit as a young guy,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “He’s got a little more poise with that puck and he’s placing it better.”

Bryan Little gave Winnipeg a 1-0 lead 6:50 into the game. John Klingberg and Benn scored for Dallas barely two minutes apart midway through the first period.

The Stars put a season-high 42 shots on goal.

Pavelec had not faced more than 37 this season. He stopped all 14 shots in a scoreless third period.

“Some high-end ones, too, on high-end shooters,” Maurice said. “The ones he could see and then a few that he didn’t see until late. He was just tracking the puck so well. Best player on the ice.

“Might be the best performance I’ve ever seen by a goaltender while I’ve been behind the bench.”

Pavelec’s teammates blocked 29 Dallas shots, including eight by Toby Enstrom. The Stars had 83 shot attempts to 43 for Winnipeg.

Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves for the Stars, but gave up the puck behind the net and didn’t skate back around in time to stop Nikolaj Ehlers‘ shot for the Jets’ final goal at 12:51 of the second period.

Patrick Eaves scored at 17:58 of the second to pull the Stars to 4-3.

Winnipeg has won a season-high three consecutive games, all on the road. The Jets had nine two-game winning streaks before that.

The Stars also entered on a two-game win streak. The loss left them two points behind Winnipeg, with both teams fighting to climb into playoff position in the Western Conference.