Stars-Blue Jackets Preview
Monday, 10.17.2011 / 12:57 PM
The Dallas Stars are feeling good about themselves after dominating the Columbus Blue Jackets. The chance to do it again comes just three days later. The Stars begin a four-game trip Tuesday night as they try to sweep a home-and-home set against the winless Blue Jackets, who will likely be without injured top center Jeff Carter. Dallas (4-1-0) outshot Columbus 33-15 in a 4-2 victory Saturday. Captain Brenden Morrow had a goal and an assist and Mike Ribeiro added three assists, with two coming on third-period goals by Sheldon Souray and Michael Ryder. "That was probably one of the best all-around games I think we've played in a long time," right wing Adam Burish said. The Stars' wins have all come at home, and they end this trip with three games against Pacific Division rivals. "Our week on the road now is going to be a good test for us mentally on the road to see what we're made of," rookie coach Glen Gulutzan said. Columbus (0-4-1), meanwhile, is off to the franchise's worst start as the only Western Conference team without a victory. The news got worse for the Blue Jackets with Carter suffering a hairline crack on the top of his right foot. Acquired in the offseason from Philadelphia, Carter is doubtful for Tuesday. Coach Scott Arniel is making changes to his struggling team. Derick Brassard - yet to register a point - is moving to the top line in place of Carter, and left wing Vinny Prospal is being shifted to the second line centered by Antoine Vermette. "(Brassard) now gets an opportunity to get back in there and play a top role," Arniel told the Blue Jackets' official website. "He played good hockey for us at times last year before his injury. We need him to step up and use his offensive instincts, compete on pucks and be good for us." Columbus has been outscored 5-1 in its last three third periods and was outshot 11-5 in the final period Saturday. "For me, our effort is the biggest thing I want to see improved," Arniel said. "It's not so much X-and-O's (Tuesday); I'd rather see us come out and be very, very competitive first."Steve Mason has started every game for Columbus, posting a 3.40 goals-against average. His counterpart, Kari Lehtonen, could get his first road start Tuesday. Lehtonen is among the NHL leaders with a 1.48 GAA while going 4-0-0, and he's 3-2-1 with a 1.49 GAA against the Blue Jackets. The Stars believe they can play better after being outshot in every game before Saturday. "Early on and at home if you can gather points and you can kind of gather some momentum and feel good about your game going on the road early, that's the most important thing," Burish said. The Blue Jackets went 0 for 20 on the power play through four games before Prospal scored his team-high third goal in the first period Saturday. All five of Columbus captain Rick Nash's points have come at home.