Stars hope to avoid 3rd straight loss in clash with Jets

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( - The Dallas Stars hope to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season when they visit the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Saturday afternoon.

With consecutive setbacks against Chicago and Nashville, the Stars are on their sixth two-game skid of the 2013-14 campaign, but Dallas hasn't lost three in a row since closing last season on an 0-4-1 stretch.

After posting a 5-1 win last Saturday against visiting Philadelphia, the Stars were handed a 6-2 home loss by the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Dallas then began a three-game road trip with another setback, losing 3-1 Thursday evening in Nashville.

Carter Hutton led the Predators to Thursday's triumph, as the young goaltender stopped 33 of the 34 shots sent his way by the Stars at Bridgestone Arena.

Erik Cole's fifth tally of the season put Dallas on the board first, but penalties on Shawn Horcoff and Brenden Dillon in a seven-second span shortly thereafter yielded a pair of Nashville goals.

"Those are mental mistakes we can't make," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said of the early penalties.

Dallas has lost two straight and three of its last four road games, but the club is still 9-7-1 as the away team this season compared to a 5-4-4 mark at home.

The Stars will close this swing when they visit Colorado on Monday for the opener of a home-and-home series.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, will try to salvage the final test of a three-game homestand after losing consecutive tilts at the MTS Centre against St. Louis and Colorado. Both setbacks came by one-goal margins, including Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Avalanche.

After giving up the game-winner to the Blues with 3:02 left in regulation on Tuesday, the Jets were able to force overtime against Colorado thanks to Blake Wheeler's power-play goal at the midway point of the third period. Mark Scheifele threw a shot on net that was stopped by Semyon Varlamov, but Wheeler was in position to put in the carom and knot the contest at 3-3.

Prior to that game-tying goal, however, the Jets coughed up a 2-0 lead. Wheeler opened the scoring just 24 seconds into the first period and Michael Frolik made it a two-goal cushion before Colorado scored the game's next three goals. Matt Duchene had two goals and an assist to spark the Colorado rally, then tallied again in the shootout to help give the Avs an extra point.

Wheeler notched his first two-goal effort of the season, while Ondrej Pavelec finished with 23 saves in the loss.

"They took advantage of some of our mistakes," Wheeler said.

Jets forward Evander Kane missed his fifth straight game Thursday due to a lower-body injury, but is questionable for today. Kane, who has seven goals and seven assists this season, was cleared for contact at Friday's practice and could return to game action on Saturday.

After capping a homestand today, Winnipeg will play two straight and four of its next five on the road. The Jets are 7-7-4 at home this season and 7-7-1 as the guest.

Winnipeg has taken two of three and three of the last five meetings against Dallas. The Stars are 6-1-1 all-time in road games in this series, but have split two tilts in Winnipeg since the Jets relocated from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season.