Stars trounce Jets, take sole possession of Central lead

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Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz each had a goal with an assist as the Dallas Stars continued their season success over the visiting Winnipeg Jets with a 4-1 victory on Thursday.

The teams entered the night tied atop the tight Central Division, but Dallas was hot from the start, scoring three even-strength goals in the first period to take a 3-0 lead.

Pavelski set up Jason Robertson for his 20th goal, then extended the lead later in the period for the Stars, who recorded more than two goals for the first time in six games while improving to 3-0-0 against Winnipeg this season.

Logan Stankoven scored the third goal in his four-game NHL career for Dallas, which entered amid a 1-3-3 stretch. Jake Oettinger made 25 saves for the victory.

The Jets had won four straight and seven of eight, but they managed just Vladislav Namestnikov’s second-period goal. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32 shots for Winnipeg, which has been outscored 9-3 in the three games against Dallas this season.

Winnipeg was the offensive aggressor in the early minutes Thursday. However, Dallas opened the scoring 6:52 into the contest. Off an own-zone turnover by the Jets, Pavelski got the puck, then sent it over to Robertson to convert for just his third goal in the past 15 games.

With 3:19 remaining in the first period, Pavelski, who has five points in six games, was on the receiving end of Dallas’ second goal. He got just enough of his stick on the puck — off a point-drive from Jani Hakanpaa — to redirect it past Hellebuyck.

Less than two minutes later, the Stars made it 3-0. After stealing the puck from Winnipeg’s Mason Appleton, Stankoven eventually put in a slot rebound to extend his goal streak to three games.

Delivering a more spirited effort in the second period, Winnipeg was finally rewarded on a power play at 13:24. With the puck loose in front of Oettinger after a Nikolaj Ehlers shot, Namestnikov was quick enough to poke the puck into the net and break a 12-game point drought.

Hintz added an empty-net goal with 1:10 to play.