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Marty Turco has been outstanding at home for the Dallas Stars over the past month. He's also been outstanding in the past against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are playing some of their best hockey of the season.
With the Stars beginning a four-game homestand, Turco will likely get a chance to continue his success at American Airlines Center and his dominance of the Blue Jackets when the teams continue their season series Saturday.
Turco broke out of a mini-slump Thursday night, making 28 saves in Dallas' 4-2 win over San Jose after allowing seven goals in his previous two games.
The Stars (26-18-5) went 2-1-1 on their road trip and now return home, where they are 13-7-2 while getting strong play from Turco in recent weeks. Turco is 4-1-0 with a 1.40 goals-against average in his last five games at American Airlines Center.
Now, Turco is expected to get another start against a Blue Jackets team he is 11-1-1 with a 1.82 GAA against. His strong play is a major reason why Dallas is 20-3-3 against Columbus (23-18-6) all-time.
The Stars have won two meetings with the Blue Jackets this season, winning both games on the road in shootouts. In the teams' last meeting, Turco made 25 saves and turned away 3-of-5 Columbus shots in the shootout as Dallas won 2-1.
Mike Modano scored the Stars' first shootout goal in that game, and had a two-goal effort Thursday. Modano had gone nine games without a goal, but has a five-game point streak (one goal, six assists).
The veteran center has been held off the scoresheet in regulation in each of his last four games versus the Blue Jackets. Still, Dallas has managed to continue its success against Columbus, and will try to use Saturday's game to get off to a strong start on a homestand that leads into next weekend's All-Star break.
The Stars are in a tight race with Anaheim and San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division.
"It's a logjam at the top (of the division), and we're in the middle," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "It's going to continue to be a battle for spots."
Columbus, meanwhile, finds itself in a tight battle to get one of the last few playoff spots in the West, but it has matched a season high with four straight wins. A victory Saturday would give the Blue Jackets five in a row for the first time since Dec. 2-12, 2006.
This will be the second stop of a five-game road-trip for the Blue Jackets, who got off to a strong start with a 4-3 win over Phoenix on Thursday night. All-Star winger Rick Nash scored the game-winner on a highlight-reel play with 21.5 seconds left.
Nash finished with two goals and an assist. He leads Columbus with 25 goals and 41 points.
Rostislav Klesla and Nikolai Zherdev also scored, and Sergei Fedorov and Michael Peca each had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who have moved passed St. Louis for second place in the Central Division. Zherdev, second on the team with 19 goals, has found the back of the net four times in his last four games.
The teams will meet again in Dallas on Tuesday.