|CBJ||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|DAL||1||1||1||(0 - 0)||3|
Stars -- Dallas is in the pile of teams scrapping for the final playoff berths in the West. A little consistency might help: The Stars have won consecutive games only twice this season, have lost nine of their past 13 games and have won only eight of 17 home games. First-year coach Marc Crawford made big changes in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Sharks, benching young defenseman Matt Niskanen and shaking up the forward lines. Neal continued to play with Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson, but Brenden Morrow was with Tom Wandell and Jamie Benn; Steve Ott played with Mike Ribeiro and Toby Petersen and Mike Modano was with Barch and Fabian Brunnstrom, who has had shoulder problems this season.
Richards, the Stars' No. 1 center, has seven points in the past seven games. Eriksson has five points in three games. Ribeiro has five points in four games. Benn has three points in three games. Robidas has four points in three games.
Injury report -- Dallas right wing Jere Lehtinen sat out the Sharks' game with a groin problem. He missed five games earlier this season to a groin problem and nine games to a chest injury. Daley has missed three games with a shoulder injury and is sidelined indefinitely. Fellow defenseman Mark Fistric suffered a concussion against Atlanta Dec. 17 and is listed as day-to-day.
Blue Jackets left wing Dorsett is out until mid-January with a broken hand. Defenseman Rostislav Klesla has missed 11 games with a torn groin and is out until mid-January. Defenseman Anton Stralman missed two games with illness and may return against the Stars.
Stat pack -- Marty Turco is 14-2-2 lifetime against Columbus. … The Stars were never shorthanded in their 4-2 loss to San Jose; it's the first time they haven't allowed an opposition power play since April 11, 1999, a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Stars' 11 losses in overtime or shootouts lead the NHL.
Puck drop -- The benching of former first-round draft pick Niskanen, 23, after 95-consecutive starts was even more startling because of the absence of injured defensemen Fistric and Daley. Nicklas Grossman, Robidas and Karlis Skrastins carried most of the defensive load, but AHL callups Maxime Fortunus and Ivan Vishnevskiy played 19:41 and 17:32, respectively. Jeff Woywitka played 13:39. Niskanen averages 19:12. He's minus-9 with only a goal and eight assists.