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Stars-Blue Jackets Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars

Wednesday, April 9
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Note: Wednesday night is a make-up game for the originally scheduled Stars-Blue Jackets contest on March 10. Play was suspended on that night after Stars forward Rich Peverley suffered a cardiac event on the bench with 13:37 remaining in the first period. At the time play was suspended, Columbus led the Stars 1-0 on a Nathan Horton goal with assists from Matt Calvert and James Wisniewski. Wednesday's game will be played in its full, 60-minute entirety, with the Blue Jackets having a 1-0 lead.

About the Stars

The Stars (39-29-11) are coming off a 3-2 shootout win over Nashville Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. The Stars increased their lead over Phoenix, which lost in overtime at Columbus, to two points in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both teams have three games remaining.

“It’s big,” Stars center Vernon Fiddler said of the win. “We were obviously scoreboard watching and saw Phoenix picked up a point. We wanted to pick up any kind of points. When you go to a shootout, it is especially big to get that extra one.”

The win was the fourth straight at home for the Stars and gave them a 7-0-1 mark in their last eight games at American Airlines Center.

Wednesday’s game is the second of a three-game homestand. It will be the fourth game in five nights for the Stars.

Injuries: F Ray Whitney (lower body) is day to day. F Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) is out.

About the Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets (41-31-7) defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-3, in overtime Tuesday in Columbus. After Phoenix tied the game with 15 seconds remaining in regulation, Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen scored the game-winner 3:33 into overtime.

“[Phoenix’s late goal] could have been one of those 'oh no' moments, but credit to the guys because we went out and found a way to win the game," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "The response on the bench was real positive. It was the coaches saying it and the players saying it.”

The win pushed the Blue Jackets to within two points of wrapping up the second playoff spot in the franchise’s 13-season history.

"It means so much more if we get in the postseason and do some damage there," Johansen said.

Blue Jackets forward Nathan Horton left Tuesday’s game with a lower body injury and did not return.

Wednesday’s game is the first of a three-game road trip that will wrap up the Blue Jackets’ regular season schedule.

Injuries: F Nathan Horton (lower body) is questionable. D Nikita Nikitin (lower body) is day to day. F RJ Umberger (lower body) is out.

Series Notes

*This is the second and final meeting between the Stars and Blue Jackets this season.

*The Blue Jackets won the previous meeting, defeating the Stars 4-2 in Columbus on March 4.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars have won four straight at home and are 7-0-1 in their last eight at American Airlines Center.

*Columbus is 5-1-0 in its last six games on the road.

*The Stars are 7-3-0 in their last ten games overall.

*The Blue Jackets are 5-4-1 in their last ten games overall.

*The Stars are 13-16-2 vs. the Eastern Conference.

*The Blue Jackets are 12-11-4 vs. the Western Conference.

*The Stars are 1-23 (4.3%) on the power play over the last six games.

*The Blue Jackets are 9-25 (36.0 percent) on the power play over the last eight games.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has scored four goals in the last three games.

*Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen has registered four points (two goals, two assists) over the last three games.

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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