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Blue Jackets return home to face Stars

by Brian Compton

STARS (29-22-10) at BLUE JACKETS (31-25-5)


Last 10: Dallas 6-2-2; Columbus 5-4-1

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets. They will face each other again next Monday at American Airlines Center.

Big story: Each team plays its second game in as many nights after earning victories Monday. The Stars now have sole possession of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, while the Blue Jackets moved within a point of the Detroit Red Wings for the last playoff spot in the East.

Team Scope:

Stars: It was a special night for coach Lindy Ruff on Monday, when he earned his 600th victory with a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at American Airlines Center. Alex Chiasson broke a 2-2 tie via the power play at 10:25 of the third period and Kari Lehtonen made 21 saves to help Dallas move ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks in the playoff race.

"It means I'm on my way to 700. I said to somebody, probably 30 more losses and I've got 500 of those too," Ruff said of the milestone win. "I think it means I've had a lot of good players. I've coached a lot of good players. I had some real good teams. Those wins for the most part belong to the guys on the ice who go out and get them for you. Guys went out and got one for me tonight."

Blue Jackets: Columbus completed a three-game, season-series sweep of the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 2-1 victory at Air Canada Centre on Monday. It was the Blue Jackets' second victory in three days, and this time it came in a hostile environment. Toronto had won its previous seven home games before Sergei Bobrovsky (28 saves) and the Blue Jackets ended the streak and picked up two more huge points in the race to the postseason.

"When you're on the road and you hear the boos come out, you know you're doing the things you need to do," Columbus coach Todd Richards said.

Who's hot: Stars forward Ray Whitney had two assists against the Sabres, giving him three points in the past four games. Jamie Benn has five points in the past four (one goal, four assists). … Blue Jackets forward Artem Anisimov extended his goal streak to three games Monday.

Injury report: Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas (leg) is out. … Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray won't play after sustaining a lower-body injury Monday. Forward Jared Boll (ankle) and defenseman Fedor Tyutin (ankle) are on injured reserve.

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