The Blue Jackets did a couple of things differently and the result turned out nicely in a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.
Foremost, the struggling power play scored to post a 1-0 lead that the Blue Jackets (8-6-1) would never relinquish thanks to a sterling 27-save performance by Sergei Bobrovsky.
Secondly, the defensive tandem of Zach Werenski and Seth Jones was split up in the second period. They've played together almost exclusively, except for injuries, since Werenski entered the NHL for the 2016-17 season.
"I just thought Z was struggling," coach John Tortorella said. "He was fighting the puck. He didn't look confident with the puck. I just felt it early on for him.
"We waited till the end of the (first) period to do it. I loved what it looked like."
The new pairings, at least for the rest of this game, were Jones and Ryan Murray, Markus Nutivaara and David Savard and Werenski-Dean Kukan.
Coincidentally, Nutivaara and Murray (empty net) scored as did Duclair on the power-play, and Nick Foligno late in the middle period for a 3-0 lead against a tired Dallas (8-6-1) that completed a six-game road trip in Ohio's capital city after losing 2-1 in overtime at the Boston Bruins on Monday.
Video: DAL@CBJ: Murray nets empty-net goal to seal win
"We took advantage of a team that went to overtime last night and was probably a little tired," Foligno said. "We knew we had to get the jump on them.
"They're a skilled team that can make you pay. We knew we had to be physical and do the little things."
Video: Foligno talks about not overthinking issues out west
Jamie Benn's power-play goal at 3:55 of the third was the only one to get by Bobrovsky, who outdueled Ben Bishop (30 saves).
"Tonight, we didn't have it," Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. "They were winning a lot of battles. We could have a lot of excuses, but we expect more of ourselves and each other."
Duclair made it 1-0 at 19:00 of the first period with a power-play goal, the Blue Jackets' first in 21 tries since 2:35 of the third period Oct. 25 at the St. Louis Blues when Duclair scored. It was also the second goal on the power play in 27 tries at home.
Duclair used a Boone Jenner screen for his sixth goal from the left circle. Duclair leads the Blue Jacket with three goals on the power play.
Scoring in that manner was a welcome relief.
"You could see it," Foligno said. "It's something we know we're all capable of. It's funny how your mind can play tricks on you. It's been a tough four or five games with it. We need it to be a big part of our success and it was tonight."
Nutivaara gave Columbus a 2-0 lead at 11:05 of the second period. The defenseman was in the right circle for a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Artemi Panarin, who got his first point in five games. Nutivaara's two goals have come in the past five games.
"When you focus on the right things, good things happen," he said. "That was a good game for us. We have to be able to trust ourselves to play like that all the nights."
Bobrovsky two minutes later stopped a backdoor one-timer by former Blue Jackets forward Blake Comeau.
Atkinson ignited the crowd with five minutes left in the second with a jarring check on Miro Heiskanen in the right corner.
"The bench was buzzing," Nutivaara said. "You see Cam hitting everybody then everybody gets going, more energy."
The ensuing skirmish resulted in a Blue Jackets' power play. They didn't score on it but 16 seconds after it expired, they did.
Foligno's fifth goal made it 3-0 at 17:14 of the second. Alexander Wennberg won the puck below the line and passed to Foligno, who stepped into a shot from the left dot.
Video: DAL@CBJ: Foligno hammers Wennberg's feed to pad lead
The goal was the by-product of what Tortorella has been preaching: If you don't score on the power play at least create some momentum.
The Blue Jackets went 1 for 3 with the man advantage.
"It's funny with confidence and I thought our power play looked pretty good after (Duclair's goal) too. We just didn't finish," Tortorella said.
After Benn made it 3-1, the Stars pulled Bishop with 5:29 left in the third but got only two shots before Murray's first goal, into an empty net with 1:54 remaining, extended the lead to 4-1.
Line 'em up
The line of Foligno, Jenner and Josh Anderson kept the Stars' top trio of Benn, Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin in check for the most part.
"We talked about it as a line and embraced it," Jenner said. "We wanted to play hard against them and make them play in their zone. That's the best way to play against them."
Anderson, in particular, threw his weight around.
"That's the way Andy needs to play," Tortorella said. "He needs to finish his checks. He doesn't need to yap with them. Benn was kind of upset. I like the way he handled himself. He just lined up and went at him again."
Video: Blue Jackets net four goals in win against Stars
By the numbers
Columbus has defeated Dallas six straight times and 11 of the past 14 (11-2-1) since Jan. 28, 2013. The Blue Jackets have won six in a row at home in the series. … Three of the past four Blue Jackets' games have ended 4-1. They've won two of them. … Brandon Dubinsky had an assist on Murray's goal, to give him assists in back-to-back games.
Friday at the Washington Capital (7 p.m. ET; Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports app, 97.1 The Fan)