Blue Jackets 2, Stars 1

Steve Mason, Rick Nash and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets

have become road warriors.

Mason made 29 saves, Nash scored the go-ahead goal in the second

period, and the Blue Jackets beat the slumping Dallas Stars 2-1 on

Sunday, matching a club record with their fifth consecutive road

win.

Matt Calvert also scored for Columbus, which improved to 5-0-2

in its last seven road games. The Jackets still must play catch-up

to climb into a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but a road

victory over a team ahead of them in the standings is another

positive step.

”We’re coming into our own, competing hard and sticking to our

system,” Mason said. ”This is huge. This is a team ahead of us in

the playoff race. We need as many points as we can get. It’s a

conference rival, so to get the two points gets us closer to that

eighth place.”

Before the current spell of road success, Columbus dropped four

in a row on enemy ice, all against conference opponents.

”It’s our compete level,” coach Scott Arniel said. ”We’re a

real team. If we’re not going with everybody, we don’t have

success. Our wins have come when everybody shows up for 60

minutes.”

Brad Richards notched his 24th goal and Kari Lehtonen stopped 37

shots for the Stars, who dropped to 2-6-1 in their last nine.

Nash gave Columbus a 2-1 advantage at 6:33 of the second, taking

a pass from Jakub Voracek, skating in alone and sending a

backhander past Lehtonen for his team-high 26th of the season and

15th of his career against Dallas.

”It was a great pass by Jake, and it was just kind of an

old-school backhand up top,” said Nash, who has three goals in his

last four games. ”I didn’t even know it went in at first and I saw

everyone raise their hands.”

Mason came up with a big save on a backhand rebound attempt by

Steve Ott with over 7 minutes left, stretching his left pad to

steer the shot aside.

”We’re taught in practice to never to give up on a puck no

matter the situation, making the second-effort saves,” Mason said.

”That translates into games.”

Ott shook his head after he was denied by Mason.

”I probably should have had that quick one there on my

backhand, the guy made a great save,” Ott said.

The Stars went in front at 4:36 of the first period on Richards’

power-play goal, a sharp-angle attempt from the right boards that

was more of a pass than a shot.

Dallas wasn’t ahead for long. Calvert tied it on a rebound a

little more than a minute after Richards’ goal.

The Stars were fortunate to escape the first period in a tie

after being outshot 18-6 and losing 17 of 23 faceoffs.

”We did a good job of quieting the crowd,” Arniel said.

”Sometimes with these afternoon games, it’s whoever wakes up

first, and I thought we were going right from the start.”

Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman left in the first period with

a groin injury. Grossman starts with Stephane Robidas on Dallas’

top defensive pair, and the Stars had to shuffle their defensemen

to compensate for Grossman’s absence.

NOTES: Columbus RW Derek Dorsett sustained a head injury in

Friday night’s home win over Colorado and remained in Columbus. …

Veteran forward Jason Williams, signed on Saturday, made his Stars

debut, playing LW on the fourth line. Williams was brought in to

cover for injuries to C Adam Burish (broken orbital bone), RW Krys

Barch (scratched cornea and fractured orbital bone), RW Ray Sawada

(separated shoulder and broken nose), C Jamie Benn (shoulder) and C

Toby Petersen (leg). Petersen is practicing with the team and is

expected to be activated next week.