BLUE JACKETS 4 | STARS 2
Nick Foligno Post Game
Mark Letestu Post Game
Ryan Johansen Post Game
Todd Richards Post Game
Mark Letestu Goal
ANALYSIS: The Stars were going to come back with a push at some point, and they did so in the second period. Their M.O. is obvious: get to the front of the net and make life as difficult as possible for Bobrovsky, and they've thrown heavy traffic and multi-layered screens his way through the first 40 minutes. Dallas got a pair of goals in the second period to offset a sweet goal from Kevin Connauton, and we've got a 3-2 game with 20 minutes to play. The Jackets have done solid work on the penalty kill tonight, but they've had a few lapses 5-on-5 and the Stars have two goals off coverage breakdowns in the Columbus zone. And of course, Ales Hemsky had to get on the scoreboard against the Blue Jackets - it's only tradition. Shots are 15-15 through two periods.
Kevin Connauton Goal
ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets didn't have a crazy number of scoring chances in the first period but they capitalized twice, and lead 2-0 after 20 minutes at American Airlines Center. James Wisniewski got it started just over five minutes in, ripping a slap shot through traffic that deflected at least once on its way behind Anders Lindback. Replay showed Ryan Johansen's stick in the general area of the deflection (the credit for the goal was changed twice but as of now, it belongs to Wisniewski) and also a Stars defenseman. Then it was Johansen converting a pass off the rush from Scott Hartnell, going top-shelf on Lindback for a power play goal that made it 2-0. The penalty kill was stout, too, killing off a pair of Dallas opportunities.
James Wisniewski Goal
Ryan Johansen Goal
UPDATE (4:30 PM): The center ice logo is in place for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena! Check out great photos from today's logo installation here!
Gallery: All-Star Logo Installation
Kevin Connauton Pre-game
Mark Letestu Pre-game
Todd Richards Pre-game
UPDATE (2:00 PM): The Blue Jackets have officially activated Cam Atkinson and Mark Letestu off of injured reserve, and assigned forwards Michael Chaput and Adam Cracknell to AHL Springfield. Read the full announcement here.
UPDATE (12:40 PM): According to Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch, these were the lines and pairings from this morning's skate...
Our own Jeff Rimer confirms that both Mark Letestu and Cam Atkinson will return to the Blue Jackets' lineup tonight. Cody Goloubef also looks to be getting the call for the second straight game.
UPDATE (11:50 AM): According to Stars' beat writer Mark Stepneski, Anders Lindback was the first goaltender off the ice for the Stars after the morning skate and appears to be the likely starter for Dallas tonight. Lindback has a record of 1-5-0 in six appearances (two of them relief appearances) this season.
Howdy, Jackets fans!
The Blue Jackets have one more contest on their brief swing out west. They land in Dallas to take on the sizzling Stars at American Airlines Center, the building where they clinched a playoff berth last April.
Much like the Blue Jackets, the Stars had a challenging start to the season. A 2-8-2 stretch from Oct. 25 to Nov. 18 brought them near the bottom of the Western Conference standings despite a roster loaded with offensive talent. Also like the Jackets, the Stars have gotten their act together in recent weeks, going 9-2-1 in their past 12 games to climb within three points of a wild-card spot. The Stars have scored 17 goals in the last three games.
A lot of that offense is coming from two of the league's best players, with the NHL's leading goal-scorer Tyler Seguin centering Stars captain Jamie Benn. The two have combined for 81 points already this season, not to mention line mate Colton Sceviour's four points in the last five games. That line will be the most important for the Jackets' to mind as they look for a second straight win.
Here are a few more thoughts before tonight's game:
- With Seguin and Benn producing, the Stars rank fifth in the NHL in goals scored this season. That's despite the fact that they've gotten minimal contributions from their two biggest off-season additions. Jason Spezza has been remarkably snake-bitten with only six goals on the season and a 7.7 shooting percentage, though he does have 27 points. Ales Hemsky has also struggled to score. He has four goals and nine assists in 35 games.
- David Savard scored the game-winner against the Avalanche last night, his third game-winner of the season and his seventh goal on the year in total. It was the sixth game in the last seven that the Jackets got at least one goal from the blue line.
- Speaking of defensive scoring, Kevin Connauton will face his old team for the first time since being claimed off waivers by the Jackets. That move has worked out well for Connauton, who has five goals and nine points in 11 games.
- The Blue Jackets placed Adam Cracknell on waivers on Monday, meaning that either Mark Letestu or Cam Atkinson may be ready to make their return to the lineup. Todd Richards had speculated that Letestu may be an option for Friday night in Toronto. We will await the end of the morning skate for updates on the status of those players.