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Game Preview: Blue Jackets return home to face league-best Stars

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets


Wrap your heads around this one: the Dallas Stars have yet to lose consecutive games this season.

This past weekend, the Stars and St. Louis Blues did battle in a home-and-home that represented a big test for Dallas, as the Blues have been one of the teams to give them the most trouble in the first half. On the back end of the two-game set, the Stars blanked the Blues 3-0 on Sunday at American Airlines Center.

Jamie Benn and Patrick Sharp had one goal and one assist each, and Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves to record his first shutout of the season and the 33rd of his career. The previous evening, the Stars had fallen to the Blues, 3-2, in a shootout.

The Stars (27-7-3) currently sit at the top of the NHL standings with 57 points. The team is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games, with much of its fire power coming from their top players.

Benn (49 points), Tyler Seguin (47 points), John Klingberg (32 points) and Sharp (30 points) lead the Stars offensively and seem to be finding the scoresheet on a near-nightly basis. It's not only scoring but scoring depth that's allowed Dallas to get off to a scorching start, and coach Lindy Ruff is getting offense from both his forwards and defense.

The Blue Jackets (13-22-3) are coming off a rough Florida road trip, dropping consecutive games to the Lightning and Panthers. After losing 5-2 in Tampa Bay and 3-2 the following night in Sunrise, the Jackets are looking to get back on track with a three-game home stand.

In goal for Columbus, Curtis McElhinney and Joonas Korpisalo have been handling the goaltending duties in the absence of No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky is currently listed as day-to-day (groin), as is captain Nick Foligno (lower body).




Exactly two weeks will have passed between the most recent matchup between these two teams their latest installment. The Blue Jackets and Stars met on Dec. 15 in Dallas, and after a somewhat solid start for Columbus, it started to come undone in the second period.

The Stars' offense awakened, and a pair of goals from Seguin got them going and then expanded their lead. Korpisalo was making his second of two straight starts (after making his NHL debut the night before).

Although the Blue Jackets and Stars were tied 1-1 with seven minutes left in the second period, that middle frame lapse cost the visitors. The Stars won 5-1, with the Blue Jackets' lone goal coming from Scott Hartnell on the power play. 





With 23 goals, Benn leads the NHL in that category. He’s currently ranked fifth in assists and second overall in points with 49, and has become one of the league's most dangerous offensive players in the last few seasons.

A few more impressive stats: Benn is ranked second in the NHL and leads the Stars with a plus-19 rating, and his alliance with Seguin has been one of the catalysts behind Dallas' resurgence. In his last five games, Benn has recorded eight points (3 G, 5 A).

The 26-year-old was selected by Dallas in the fifth round (129th overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft, and has played all seven NHL seasons with he Stars.

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