After playing what head coach Jim Montgomery called their "worst game of the year" on Tuesday, the Dallas Stars get a quick chance to redeem themselves when they host the Winnipeg Jets in the back half of a home-and-home on Thursday night.
The Stars have dropped four straight games, including Tuesday night's 5-1 loss in Winnipeg. The Jets, behind a goal and two assists by Kyle Connor, led 4-1 after two periods and cruised to their second win in three meetings with Dallas this season.
"We never responded throughout the game," Montgomery said. "I thought the Jets were ready to go. I thought they were really good, and they were the better team in every facet of the game."
Anton Khudobin finished with 25 saves for the Stars, including a handful of grade-A stops in the first 40 minutes or the score could have been even more lopsided.
"I apologized to Dobby after the second (period) for the effort in front of him," Montgomery said.
"I don't think we were ready to play," forward Corey Perry told NHL.com. "We were slow executing, we were slow moving the puck. If you play slow in this league, teams jump all over you. Our game is playing quick and jumping on other teams and making them chase us. We didn't have that tonight."
The Stars had that in their meeting with the Jets in Dallas on Nov. 21, when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in an eventual 5-3 victory. That win was part of a 12-game point streak that saw the Stars win 11 times, with the only loss coming in overtime at Winnipeg on a Mark Scheifele goal.
One player Dallas must try to contain is forward Patrik Laine.
Laine had a goal and an assist in Tuesday's win for the Jets and has scored 18 goals in 16 career games against Dallas, including three in three games this season.
"I wish we would play 82 (games) against those guys," said Laine, who has scored eight goals this season. "It just seems like it goes in. I don't have any explanation but thank God they're in our division."
The contest is another key four-point swing game in a competitive Central Division. Winnipeg (35 points) moved into second place, seven points behind first-place St. Louis with Tuesday night's win. Dallas (33 points) is in fourth place.
Ehlers scored his team-leading 13th goal at the 7:45 mark of the first period to give the Jets a quick 1-0 lead.
"For us, we want to come out and have good starts every single game," Ehlers said. "But all teams want to do that. We get ourselves ready for every single game. We know what we need to do out there every single game. It doesn't change. It's just a matter of doing it, and we're doing it right now."
--Field Level Media