Sergei Bobrovsky's strong night in net helps Blue Jackets top Stars
Mark Letestu returned from an injury. Kevin Connauton was back in Dallas. Each of them had a big goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After the Stars pulled within one, Letestu clinched Columbus' 4-2 victory Tuesday night with his fourth goal on a 2-on-1 break with 2:58 to play. He had missed the previous 28 games because of a groin/abdominal injury.
Connauton's goal made it 3-0 at 3:57 of the second period. It was his first game against his former team since the Blue Jackets claimed him on waivers on Nov. 18.
"It's good for them. It's good for the team," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "You could see that the guys were happy when Kevin scored, and then Mark, the last goal, a big goal. You can see what he adds to our team."
Connauton, who scored one goal in 44 games during his time with Dallas, has six in 18 games for the Blue Jackets.
"It was nice and weird at the same time," the defenseman said of his return to Dallas. "The fact we walked out of here with a win is a good feeling."
The Blue Jackets improved to 12-2-1 in the last 15 games, moving above at 18-17-3.
"It's a good accomplishment considering where we were at a month, month and a half ago," Richards said.
Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 11 of his 24 saves in the third period, when Dallas outshot the Blue Jackets 11-4.
Columbus' Nick Foligno had three assists, and Scott Hartnell added two. Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist.
Ales Hemsky and Antoine Roussel scored in the second period for Dallas, which outshot Columbus 26-20 for the game.
Anders Lindback had 16 saves in only his fifth start for the Stars - his first since Nov. 29.
"He hasn't started in a long stretch, and it's tough," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "But we probably needed him to be a little bit better if we're going to win that game."
The Blue Jackets have won their last four games in Dallas.
James Wisniewski scored his fourth goal at 5:21 of the first period when his shot from the slot deflected off Hemsky's stick and Lindback's left leg.
Johansen added a power-play goal at 7:26. He took a pass from Hartnell into the right faceoff circle. When Lindback went low, Johansen lifted the puck over him and into the net.
"We weren't ready to play," Ruff said. "Taking three penalties in the first, that hurt us. After that, we were the team that dominated possession."
Each team had five power plays, but Columbus scored the only power-play goal.
"We had maybe three opportunities to score on our power play," Ruff said, "which with that number of power plays isn't enough."
Connauton sent a shot from the blue line past Lindback at 3:57 of the second.
Dallas then rallied. Jason Spezza skated past the goalmouth to screen Bobrovsky on Hemsky's goal at 5:28, and Roussel tipped in a shot by Ryan Garbutt at 13:14.
NOTES: Kari Lehtonen had started the previous 12 games in goal for Dallas. ... Both teams were playing their third game in four nights. . RW Cam Atkinson (upper body injury) returned to Columbus' lineup after being out three games. ... Blue Jackets D Fedor Tyutin played in his 700th NHL game. ... Johansen has nine points (four goals, five assists) during an eight-game point streak. ... Hemsky, scoreless in his first 21 games, has scored all five of his goals in the last 15 games. ... The Stars activated C Shawn Horcoff (illness) from injured reserve, but he was a healthy scratch.