Blue Jackets hoping for better success at home vs. Stars

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets return home from a three-game western swing to face the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.

The business trip wasn’t exactly a California dream, but the Blue Jackets can accept the results. They posted a 1-1-1 record, losing at the last stop 3-2 in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks.

Pierre-Luc Dubois‘ second goal of the game with 32 seconds remaining in the third period salvaged a point for the Blue Jackets in the final game of the trip. Anaheim’s Cam Fowler scored his third goal of the game 36 seconds into overtime to end the Ducks’ seven-game losing streak and foil the Blue Jackets’ chance to pick up another point.

“We need consistency. We understand how we need to play,” Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones said, according to the team’s website. “We had a great game in San Jose (4-1 win on Thursday). Then we kind of, I thought, wet the bed in LA (4-1 loss to the Kings).

“Then we come here (to Anaheim), maybe 35 minutes is good, 40 minutes is good, but we’ve got to put 60 minutes together every night. It’s never going to be perfect, but we’ve got to find a way to not trail every game, especially not come back every game, and jump out to a lead.”

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella is trying to instill confidence in the players.

“I don’t know where it goes sometimes when you don’t have it,” he said. “But we’ve got try and find it.

“We’ve got some guys who don’t feel good about themselves, so we’ve got to try and build them up.”

Tortorella also is trying to figure out how to jump-start the Blue Jackets’ power play, which went 0 of 6 against the Ducks and has failed to convert on the last 20 opportunities.

Tuesday’s game against the Stars will be the Blue Jackets’ fourth straight against Western Conference opponents and seventh in nine games before they return to playing Eastern Conference teams.

“It starts with getting momentum, getting some chances,” Tortorella said. “That’s how you get some confidence, then the puck gets into the net.”

The Blue Jackets (7-6-1) have dominated the series with the Stars (8-5-1) in recent years, winning the past five meetings between the clubs and three straight at home. But each of the last three games in the series was decided by one goal.

Columbus is 10-2-1 in the last 13 games against Dallas and 5-1-1 in the last seven at Nationwide Arena.

Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky also has fared well against the Stars during his career, posting a sterling 10-1-1 record with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage.

Bobrovsky hasn’t come close to elevating his play to that level yet this season. In nine games, he has posted a 3-6-0 record with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.

He’ll face a team enduring the second night of a back-to-back that began Monday with a 2-1 overtime loss in Boston to the Bruins that ended a three-game win streak. The game in Columbus ends Boston’s six-game road trip.

After Radek Faksa scored at 3:51 of the opening period on Dallas’ first shot of the game against Boston, the Stars were shut out the rest of the way by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. The Stars gave up the winning goal on a five-on-three when Brad Marchand beat goalie Anton Khudobin with just 31 seconds left in OT.

Bruins No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop is expected to be back in the net against the Blue Jackets. He is 6-4-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

Stars captain Jamie Benn has a history playing well against the Blue Jackets. He has contributed a goal or assist in the Stars’ last nine visits to Nationwide Arena.

First-year Stars coach Jim Montgomery likes the direction the team is headed despite Monday’s loss.

“There’s a lot of belief right now,” Montgomery said. “I don’t see any complacency in our group, I just see a determination and a focus that I haven’t seen before. That’s the exciting part.”