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GAME DAY: vs. Dallas

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

  Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Dallas Stars
RECORDS - CBJ: 15-32-6 (Home: 9-13-3), DAL: 27-23-2 (Road: 12-13-0)
WHEN: Feb. 9, 2012 - 7 p.m.   |   WHERE: Nationwide Arena

FOX Sports Ohio (HD)  |  LISTEN: 97.1 The Fan &



Much like a handful of teams throughout the National Hockey League right now, the Dallas Stars are in search of consistency as they gear up for a postseason run. In nearly an identical fashion as a year ago, the Stars started the 2011-12 regular season with a flurry and were one of the top five teams in the Western Conference for most the first half of the year.

Head coach Glen Gulutzan appeared to be pulling all the right strings in his first season behind the Dallas bench, and mixed with a heavy dose of quality goaltending from Kari Lehtonen, the Stars used their widespread scoring depth to compile wins and entrench themselves in the playoff picture. It hasn’t been as smooth a ride of late, as the Stars have won just three of their last 10 games and currently sit on the outside looking in with regards to the conference’s top eight playoff spots. Gulutzan and the Stars were particularly disappointed with their performance on Tuesday night in Phoenix, a game in which they trailed early and didn’t get anything going in a 4-1 loss.

Dallas currently boasts 13 players with at least 15 scoring points on the year, and one of the club’s strengths has been the ability to get offensive production from both the forward positions and on defense. After acquiring defenseman Alex Goligoski from the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, he has been a two-way threat for the Stars who have seen a boost in scoring from defensemen this year. Goligoski’s 19 points lead all Dallas blue liners and he’s got one more point than rejuvenated veteran Sheldon Souray, who was enjoyed a solid bounce-back year in the Lone Star state.

Michael Ryder continues to lead the Stars in goal-scoring with 19 tallies and 36 points on the year, and sophomore standout Jamie Benn is the overall scoring leader in Dallas with 46 points (15 goals, 31 assists). Their success of late seems to rest with the goaltenders, and it’s not yet known if Lehtonen or Richard Bachman will start against the Blue Jackets as the Stars begin a set of back-to-back games.

Nash (17) Ryder (19)
Prospal (24) Benn (31)
Nash (35) Benn (46)
Dorsett (137) Ott (105)
MacKenzie (+4) Benn (+13)
Sanford (10-12-4)
Lehtonen (19-12-1)
Sanford (2.50) Lehtonen (2.43)
Sanford (.915) Lehtonen (.919)
• Tuesday’s win vs. Minnesota, coupled with a 3-2 overtime win at Anaheim last Friday which snapped a six-game winless skid (0-5-1), gives the club back-to-back wins for the first time since Nov. 19-21, a span of 31 games. The club is 3-2-1 its last six home games.

• David Savard scored the first goal of his NHL career in the first period against the Wild. The goal came in his 18th NHL game. It was his first point in five games as he had an assist Jan. 13 vs. Phoenix. He later added an assist against Minnesota to record his first multi-point game of his NHL career. He is the sixth Blue Jacket to score his first NHL goal this season.

Vinny Prospal has points in three-straight games after recording an assist on Savard’s goal Tuesday against Minnesota. He has 0-3-3 during that stretch after being held pointless the previous nine games. He leads the club in assists, ranks second in points and is third (tied) in goals. He signed a one-year contract extension through the 2012-13 season yesterday.

• Tonight marks the fourth and final overall and second of two meetings at Nationwide Arena this season between the Blue Jackets and Stars. Columbus is 14-24-5 all-time against Dallas, including a 7-11-3 mark at Nationwide Arena.


LW - #24
  15 GOALS

• When the Minnesota Wild waived Nystrom earlier in the season, he was just hoping for another chance to play in the NHL. Upon being claimed by the Stars, Nystrom contributed right away.

D Radek Martinek (concussion); out for the season
LW Kristian Huselius (lower body); indefinitely
D James Wisniewski (ankle); indefinitely
C Mark Letestu (hand); indefinitely
D Nikita Nikitin (lower body); indefinitely
D Brett Lebda (hand); week-to-week

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