Columbus Visits Lone Star State
After being accustomed to long winning streaks in their all-time series with the Columbus Blue Jackets, being on the losing side is a new experience for the Dallas Stars.
The Stars look to avoid a third straight loss to the Blue Jackets and avenge their first home loss to them when the teams continue their season series Friday night.
Dallas (38-21-4) had won 10 straight and 17 of 19 meetings with Columbus (24-33-7) before dropping two in a row, including a 3-1 loss at American Airlines Center on Dec. 12. It was the Blue Jackets' first win in 11 games at Dallas.
A 2-1 overtime loss at Florida on Thursday night snapped the Stars' three-game winning streak, but they have earned points in six consecutive games (4-0-2) and are 9-2-2 since Jan. 30.
Dallas, chasing Pacific Division-leading Anaheim, is two points ahead of San Jose for second.
"We have to be much better tomorrow night," Stars coach Dave Tippett told the team's Web site after Thursday's game. "We weren't close to where we needed to be tonight. We better come out with more tomorrow."
Dallas has played well in the second half of back-to-back games, going 8-3-0 after posting a 4-6-2 record in the first leg.
Darryl Sydor scored for the Stars Thursday and rookie goaltender Mike Smith turned aside 34 shots, but wasn't able to stop Olli Jokinen 2:11 into overtime.
Defenseman Mattias Norstrom, whom the Stars acquired in a trade with Los Angeles on Tuesday, arrived in Dallas on Thursday but didn't join the team due to a mild knee sprain. He is listed as day-to-day. Eric Lindros, meanwhile, returned to the Stars' lineup after missing six games with a lower-back injury, but didn't have a shot on goal.
Jere Lehtinen had scored in three straight games before failing to find the net Thursday. He assisted on Sydor's goal, however, and now has a four-game point streak and eight points, including six goals, in his last eight games.
Lehtinen, though, has just one goal and one assist in his last seven games against the Blue Jackets.
Led by former Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, the Blue Jackets lost 3-2 at Colorado on Tuesday night.
Rick Nash scored his 18th and 19th goals in the final two minutes for the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. He has five goals and six points in his last eight games, and five goals and seven points in his last seven games against Dallas.
Fredrik Norrena made 20 saves as he fell to 6-3-1 with a 2.44 goals-against average since Jan. 19. He has taken over as the starter for Pascal Leclaire, who will miss the rest of the season with knee problems. Brian Boucher, claimed earlier this week off waivers from the Blackhawks, is the new backup after Ty Conklin was dealt to Buffalo at the trading deadline.
Norrena stopped 25 shots for the Columbus against Dallas in the teams' last matchup. The Blue Jackets held the Stars to less than three goals in Dallas for just the second time in 11 games.
- Associated Press