Blue Jackets-Stars Preview
Sergei Bobrovsky never lost in regulation to the Dallas Stars until he faced Tyler Seguin earlier this season.
The NHL’s top goal scorer tormented the Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender in a victory on that occasion, and will look to lead the high-scoring Stars to a season-high fourth straight home win Tuesday night.
Columbus (17-17-3) figures to give Bobrovsky the chance to bounce back from allowing a season-high six goals in Saturday’s 6-3 defeat at Arizona. He was rested the next night in favor of Curtis McElhinney in a 4-3 win at Colorado.
Bobrovsky has captured all four previous starts at Dallas, posting a 1.23 goals-against average. He entered the season 6-0-1 with a 1.82 GAA in seven starts versus the Stars.
That was before Seguin scored a hat trick in a 4-2 win at Columbus on Oct. 14, though one goal came into an empty net. He now has five goals in as many games against Bobrovsky.
The Dallas superstar, who has 26 goals, is second in the NHL with 47 points with a league-best 29 at home. He is third in the NHL with 4.2 shots per game, registering six in the first meeting with the Blue Jackets.
The Stars (18-14-6) had their second four-game win streak in three weeks snapped Sunday with a 5-4 overtime loss at Chicago. They yielded the tying goal with 3:57 left in the third period.
"I thought we deserved better, and 5-on-5 I thought we had the edge in the game," coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought the last 40 minutes, our pace was better than theirs."
Dallas has scored 24 goals in the last five games and is averaging 3.08 to top the Western Conference.
"We’re playing pretty solid right now," said defenseman Alex Goligoski, who had two assists. "Just have to find better ways to lock those down."
Seguin has 14 goals in the past 14 home games, and the Stars have scored 13 in the last two.
Columbus has lost three straight in Dallas but brings the league’s second-best power play to town at 24.0 percent, though it came up empty in three chances Sunday. That is where most of the damage is done by Nick Foligno, tied for second in the league with nine power-play goals and 18 points with the man advantage.
David Savard scored the winning goal Sunday with 61 seconds left. Ryan Johansen scored for the third straight game and extended his point streak to seven – his longest since a 10-game run to start the season.
The Blue Jackets received an immediate boost from defenseman Cody Goloubef, who had two assists in his return from a 25-game absence due to a knee injury.
"I thought he was very good, very good," coach Todd Richards said. "It looks like he wants the puck, he’s ready to skate with it and he made some good plays."
Ruff gave Kari Lehtonen both starts in a weekend back-to-back, including Saturday’s 7-1 rout of Minnesota. That improved Lehtonen to 4-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA in his last four starts before he was forced to make 33 saves Sunday.
Lehtonen’s 1.92 GAA against the Blue Jackets is his lowest against any opponent, though he is only 6-5-1 in those 12 games.
Dallas has yielded one power-play goal in six of its last seven games. Its penalty kill is the league’s seventh-worst at 78.8 percent.