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Stars-Blue Jackets Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Columbus Blue Jackets

Tuesday, March 4
6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (29-22-10) defeated Buffalo, 3-2, Monday night at American Airlines Center to give head coach Lindy Ruff his 600th career win. Alex Chiasson’s power play goal with 9:35 remaining snapped a 2-2 tie, giving the Stars their eighth win in the last 12 games (8-2-2). The win gave the Stars, who are in eighth place in the Western Conference, a two point lead over both Winnipeg and Vancouver.

“I think it’s huge, it’s so important. Winning right now is so important because everything is so close,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski, who scored Dallas’ second goal. “Things were a little hairy there for us in the third period. Kari [Lehtonen] made some good saves, you love to see that and there are some things we can clean up. Finding a way to win is what it came down to a lot of times.”

Tuesday’s game will be the Stars first look this season at Columbus, a former Western Conference foe that moved the Eastern Conference this season.

“They have some big forwards,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I think they have some good speed up front and I really like their defense and of course [Sergei] Bobrovsky in goal has been really good for them. I think they showed they’re right above where we are at and it should be a tough game.”

Dan Ellis is expected to start in goal Tuesday vs. the Blue Jackets.

Injuries: D Stephane Robidas (leg) is out.

About the Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets (31-25-5) are coming off a 2-1 victory at Toronto Monday night, snapping the Maple Leafs’ seven-game home winning streak. After a scoreless first period, the Blue Jackets dominated play in the second period, outshooting Toronto 12-5 and scoring twice to take a 2-0 lead.

“We switched up some things in the neutral zone, and that allowed us to come into the zone with more speed on the forecheck,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. “Once we got there, we started to win battles and keep the puck. We started grinding it down, and I think that took a toll on them.”

The Blue Jackets lost defenseman Ryan Murray in the first period to a lower body injury.

“I don’t sense it is serious, but it something that might keep him out,” said Richards.

The win pulled the Blue Jackets to within one point of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and within two points of the third seed in the Metropolitan Division.

Sergei Bobrovsky started Monday night’s game, and it is not clear if he or backup Curtis McElhinney will get the nod in net Tuesday night.

Injuries: D Ryan Murray (lower body) is questionable. RW Jared Boll (ankle), RW Jack Skille (upper body) and D Fedor Tyutin (ankle) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the first of two meetings between the Stars and Blue Jackets.

*The Stars were 1-2-0 against the Blue Jackets last season.

*The Blue Jackets were 2-0-1 against the Stars last season.

*The Stars are 31-11-5 all-time vs. Columbus.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 8-2-2 in their last 12 games.

*The Blue Jackets are 5-2-1 in their last eight games and 14-6-1 since January 1.

*The Blue Jackets are 8-2-0 in their last ten home games.

*The Stars are 3-4-3 in their last ten road games.

*Columbus’ home power play ranks fifth in the league at 22.2 percent.

*The Stars are 19-20 (95.0 Percent) on the penalty kill over the last seven games.

*Columbus has not allowed a power play goal in seven of the last eight games and is 30-32 (93.8 percent).

*The Stars are 2-32 (6.3 percent) on the power play over the last eight games.

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals (25) and points (58).

* Ryan Johansen leads Columbus in goals (24) and points (47).

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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