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StarPoints For 1/31 vs Columbus

by Dallas Stars Staff / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars (22-18-7) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (24-20-5)
6:00PM - Nationwide Arena
Television - KDFI My27
Radio-News/Talk 820 WBAP

1.)  Tonight’s match-up marks the third of four meetings between the Dallas Stars and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Stars and Jackets have each earned overtime wins against each other this season with both meetings taking place at American Airlines Center. The first meeting Oct. 10 was the season opener for both teams, which provided an explosive match-up with eight goals recorded in the game. Overtime was needed to decide a winner and Rick Nash scored 21 seconds into OT to put the Stars away 5-4. The second meeting between the two teams came Dec. 18, which featured another high-scoring night on the ice with 10 goals. Dallas won, 6-5, thanks to a Brad Richards shootout goal. The past couple games between the two teams have been very high-scoring, which is not the norm for either club. Look for a more defensive-focused match-up tonight between Columbus and Dallas.
2.)  The Dallas Stars are currently on a season-high three-game win streak, defeating Florida, Atlanta and Detroit. The Stars had put themselves in a difficult position to start the season in the Western Conference standings but they have started the second half of the season like a team hungry to make the playoffs, currently sitting at ninth in the conference. On the current winning streak Dallas has out-scored its opponents, 10-3, including four goals on the power play. Marty Turco has played his best three consecutive games of the season, recording a 1.01 GAA with a .961 save percentage and a shutout.
3.)  Jere Lehtinen returned to the lineup Dec. 20 at Ottawa after missing 14 games with an upper body injury. The Espoo, Finland native has found his touch again and has had a huge influence in the past five games, scoring three goals and two assists for five points, including his first game-winning goal of the season Jan. 27 vs. Atlanta. The 35-year-old has had his share of injuries over the past couple of seasons but there is no doubt that the Stars will be in the playoff hunt while he is in the lineup. Current linemates Lehtinen, Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro have combined for nine goals in the past five games.
4.)  Steve Ott scored the first power-play goal of his career Jan. 12 vs. Detroit, which took over five seasons for him to record. The next two power-play goals have come much quicker for the left wing, scoring his second in the following game Jan. 15 vs. Buffalo and third Jan. 29 at Detroit. Brenden Morrow’s injury has caused a hole in the power-play lineup for the Stars and the 26-year-old has answered the call. Ott and Morrow have a similar aggressive play style that had been missing on the power play and so far it has paid off with the Summerside, PEI native scoring one goal and assisting on another with the man-advantage Jan. 29 at Detroit. Going into the game against Detroit the Stars held the worst road power play in the NHL while the Red Wings held the best home penalty kill. Three of the Stars’ four goals were on the power play.
5.)  One to watch for: Steve Mason, who is the back-to-back NHL Rookie of the Month for November and December, is almost a lock to win the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best first-year player. The 20-year-old has helped bring Columbus into playoff contention with his stellar play in his first season with an NHL club. Mason leads the league with a 1.98 GAA, and is tied-for-third with a .928 save percentage. The Oakville, Ontario native led Team Canada to win the 2008 World Junior Championships posting an incredible 1.19 GAA and .951 save percentage over five games. The young rookie has already recorded a shutout streak in his short career, stopping 71 shots in three-straight games Dec. 27-31. The Stars will have their work cut out for them with this goalie between the pipes in Columbus.

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