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Game Preview #38 - The Stars At Night / Are Big And Bright

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars

January 6, 2015 - 8:30 pm EST
American Airlines Center - Dallas, Texas
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Defending Big D

Well, this road trip didn't start out as planned, with Columbus getting smoked out in the desert like a bag of cheap herb. They bounced back--sorta--in Colorado, and escaped with a nice regulation win and pushed their recent run to 11-2-1 (23 points) in their last 14 games. Think about that for a second, if you can. Remember all the guys in and out of the lineup, and remember how we felt at 6-15-2. That this team is .500 is amazing in and of itself.

And now, they finish the southwester portion of their schedule by paying a visit to red-hot Dallas. As good as Columbus has been lately, Dallas has been as good, and in some ways better. Despite an OT loss on Sunday at Chicago, the Stars are riding a 9-2-1 streak of their own, and have been scoring like mad men, notching 43 non-shootout goals in those 12 games (3.58 gpg). And that includes getting shutout once along the way. So, in the games they scored goals, they scored almost four of them per game. This includes beating Arizona 6-0 and Minnesota 7-1 right before losing to Chicago 5-4 in OT. In other words, in their last three games, goals. Lots and lots of goals.

The last time these two teams played seems so long ago. The Jackets were healthy for the most part, and were coming off of wins in their first two games. The Stars were desperate, and came out on fire en route to a Tyler Seguin hat trick and a 4-2 win. Seguin has been amazing this year, and the Jackets would do well to learn from that last experience where Benn and Seguin ate them up and shat them out.

It's early, so no official lineup news, but there are mumblings that both Cam Atkinson and Mark Letestu could be back for tonight's game. The Jackets already put Adam Cracknell on waivers, so expect at least one of them to be back (both are on IR, so both would need roster spots to be created; the Cracknell move creates one). I expect Bob will get the start in net, and my guess is that Cody Goloubef remains in the lineup in lieu of Dalton Prout after having a solid, two-point night the other night. We'll update this as roster news becomes available.

[EDIT] It appears the Jackets get a double-dose of good news, as it's being reported that BOTH Cam Atkinson and Mark Letestu will be back, with Michael Chaput being sent to Springfield. Letestu has missed 28 games this season with a groin strain that became a tear and required surgery. His versatility will be a valuable addition to the Jackets in all three phases. Atkinson coming back adds another little scoring punch, which if you remember some of the lineups the Jackets have iced this season, is ALWAYS welcome. Poor Jeremy Morin. From the penthouse to the outhouse. C'est la vie, non?

It also appears that the Jackets will see backup goaltender Anders Lindback tonight in net for the Stars, and that Sergei Bobrovsky will indeed start for Columbus, looking to bounce back after a lackluster performance in Arizona the other night (with not much help in front of him, either).

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(17-17-3, 37 Points; 5th division, 12th conference)

Scott Hartnell Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Sean Collins Alexander Wennberg Jack Skille
Jeremy Morin Mark Letestu Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kevin Connauton James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin Cody Goloubef
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Dallas Stars
(18-14-6, 42 Points; 5th Division, 10th Conference)

Jamie Benn Tyler Seguin Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole Jason Spezza Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel Cody Eakin Ryan Garbutt
Travis Moen Vernon Fiddler Brett Ritchie
Alex Goligoski John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn Jason Demers
Anders Lindback
Kari Lehtonen

Season Series

10/14/14 - Dallas 4 at Columbus 2
01/06/15 - Columbus at Dallas

Head to Head Stats

Dallas Columbus
3.08 (4) GPG 2.49 (23)
3.24 (28) GAPG 3.19 (26)
16.9% (21) PP% 24.0% (2)
78.8% (24) PK% 79.1% (22)
Tyler Seguin, 26 G leader Nick Foligno, 17
Jamie Benn, 22 A leader Ryan Johansen, 22
Tyler Seguin, 47 Pts leader Nick Foligno, 35
Antoine Roussel, 80 PIM leader Dalton Prout, 53
9-7-5 Home/Road 8-8-1
8-1-1 Last 10 7-2-1
1/4 @ Chicago, L 5-4 (OT) Last Game 1/4 @ Colorado, W 4-3