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Benn returns for Stars against Blue Jackets

by Corey Masisak /

STARS (2-2-1) at BLUE JACKETS (1-3-1)


Season series: This is the first of three meetings this season between the two clubs. Dallas won three of the four meetings last season.

Big story: Jamie Benn is expected to make his season debut after signing a five-year contract for the Stars, while the Blue Jackets try to snap a four-game losing streak.

Team scope:

Stars: Benn set career highs with 26 goals and 63 points last season, his third in the NHL. He also entrenched himself as the team's No. 1 center. He missed the team's training camp and first four games as an unsigned restricted free agent, but he's now the owner of a five-year, $26.25 million deal. Benn missed the fifth game because he still didn't have a work visa.

The Stars were also without Jaromir Jagr on Saturday night because of a back injury and Derek Roy because of a groin issue. Jagr is expected to be back against the Blue Jackets, but Roy's availability is in doubt.

Blue Jackets: Columbus won in a shootout against Nashville and held a third-period lead against Detroit before losing its second contest in a shootout, but the Blue Jackets have stumbled since. Two decisive road losses at Phoenix and Colorado preceded a one-goal loss to Chicago at Nationwide Arena. Offense was expected to be a potential problem with Rick Nash in New York, and the Blue Jackets have only three goals in the past three contests.

Who's hot: Michael Ryder has three goals in the past three games for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen has faced at least 40 shots in each of his three starts, but he is 2-0-1 with a .944 save percentage. Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin has a team-leading four points in five games.

Injury report: Dallas could be without Roy for the second straight game, but Lehtonen is expected to return in net. He sat Saturday against the Blues because of a "tweak" that the Stars wanted to be cautious with. His backup, Cristopher Nilstorp, was placed on injured reserve and Richard Bachman was recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League. Columbus coach Todd Richards said wing Cam Atkinson, who has been out the past two games, could miss up to two weeks with a lower-body injury. The Blue Jackets are also without Ryan Murray, the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

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