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Stars-Blue Jackets Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Tuesday, December 29

6:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (27-7-3) are coming off a 3-0 win over St. Louis Sunday at American Airlines Center. Jamie Benn and Patrick Sharp both had one goal and one assist, and Kari Lehtonen stopped 22 shots for his first shutout of the season. The Stars picked up three of four points in a home-and-home weekend series with the Blues, extending their lead over St. Louis to nine points in the Central Division.

“It’s a big win for us for a lot of reasons. It’s a divisional opponent, a team that had beaten us twice,” said Sharp. “They’ve been a top team in the Central Division. You know, Chicago, Nashville, Minnesota, Winnipeg, Colorado, the whole division is considered a rival. It’s a tough division to be a part of. With three out of four points coming out of a break, we can feel good about that.”

The Stars, who not lost consecutive games this season, extended their points streak to five games (4-0-1). The Stars are 15-3-3 in their past 21 games.

Injuries: None

The Blue Jackets (13-22-3) are coming off a 3-2 loss at Florida Sunday. The Blue Jackets fell behind 2-0 in the first period and could never catch up.

"We didn't play a good first, but we found a way to get our legs underneath us and generate some offense," coach John Tortorella told the Blue Jackets website. "I thought we played quicker [after the first period] and it started with our gaps in the neutral zone, it helped us turn some pucks over. But it's not enough."

The Blue Jackets, who lost 5-2 at Tampa Bay on Saturday in their first game after the break, have lost three straight and are 2-6-2 in their past ten games.

Injuries: F Nick Foligno (undisclosed) is day to day. D Cody Goloubef (broken jaw), F Markus Hannikainen (shoulder), G Sergei Bobrovsky (groin) and D David Savard (lower body) are on injured reserve.

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

*The Stars won the first meeting, 5-1, in Dallas on Dec. 15.

*The Stars are 5-2-0 in their past seven games at Columbus.

*The Stars are 15-4-0 vs. the Eastern Conference, including 8-0-0 vs. the Metropolitan Division.

*The Blue Jackets are 7-9-1 vs. the Western Conference, including 3-6-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 2-1-3 in their past six road games

*The Blue Jackets are 2-1-3 in their past six home games.

*The Stars have allowed 15 goals over their past nine games for an average of 1.67 per game.

*The Stars have allowed two goals or fewer in six of their past nine games.

*The Blue Jackets have scored two goals or fewer in seven of their past eight games.

*The Stars are 7-18 (38.9 percent) on the power play over the past five games.

*The Blue Jackets are 17-23 (73.9 percent) on the penalty kill over the past five games.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn leads the NHL with 23 goals and ranks second in points with 49.

*Forward Scott Hartnell leads Columbus in goals (14) and points (27).

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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