Stars-Blue Jackets Preview
The Dallas Stars are hoping to put a poor performance behind
them as they begin a road trip against two of the NHL’s worst
They open the two-game swing Thursday night against a Columbus
Blue Jackets club looking for its first three-game win streak of
Dallas (27-23-2) is two points out of the eighth playoff spot in
the Western Conference. The Stars missed a chance to move into
playoff position Tuesday, losing 4-1 to Phoenix.
“I think it might be all right to get on the road and try to get
going,” coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We’re making it tough on
ourselves. We could have been in eighth spot tonight.”
The Stars have split four games since the All-Star break, and
Tuesday’s effort was the first one in that span in which they
outshot their opponent.
“Awful, atrocious. I don’t know,” defenseman Sheldon Souray
said. “We’ve gotten by on a really good goaltender our last three
or four games and it’s just not good enough. We can talk about it
and try to figure it out and point fingers, but really as a whole,
we’ve really been letting ourselves down, especially as important
as this stretch of games is and what it means.”
Dallas will play on consecutive nights against league-worst
Columbus (15-32-6) and Buffalo before returning home.
“We got a two-game road trip coming up right now which is pretty
huge and we gotta make sure we come back here with some points,”
right wing Michael Ryder said.
The Blue Jackets have won back-to-back games for the second time
this season, defeating Minnesota 3-1 on Tuesday. Rookie David
Savard had a goal and an assist.
Columbus’ two wins have come on the heels of a 3-2 defeat in Los
Angeles last Wednesday, a solid effort that ended in controversial
fashion when an apparent clock error led to a goal allowed with one
“I think the last nine periods now, we aren’t perfect, we make
our mistakes,” interim coach Todd Richards said. “But the hard work
usually makes up for those mistakes. We got players now that are
committed to having each other’s back.”
Jeff Carter scored in his second straight game since returning
after missing 10 games with a separated shoulder. Thirteen of his
19 points have come at home.
“He’s been playing very well for us,” Richards said. “What I’m
impressed with is how he’s moving up and down the ice.”
Curtis Sanford has recorded the last two victories for Columbus.
He’s 4-1-1 with a 3.22 goals-against average in seven career starts
against the Stars, last facing them in 2008.
Kari Lehtonen, who has started six of the Stars’ last seven
games, is 4-3-1 with a 1.75 GAA against Columbus. He has started
all three meetings this season, with Dallas winning two.
Neither team’s power play has been solid, with the Stars at 14.6
percent and the Blue Jackets at 14.5. Dallas, though, is 3 for 11
since the break.
Columbus’ penalty kill continues to rank as the NHL’s worst at
75.7 percent, allowing nine goals in the last 28 chances.