Dallas Stars (2-2-1, 5 pts) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (1-3-1, 3 pts)
6:00 PM CT
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
The Blue Jackets
Dallas gets an easier game against a Central Division foe when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. Columbus has been a perennial cellar dweller during their existence and it’s expected to happen again this season. The Blue Jackets traded away the one recognizable star they had in Rick Nash during the offseason and got a mild return.
Five games into the season, Columbus ranks in the bottom third of the league in goals, goals against and power play percentage (but somehow fourth in penalty kill). They’ve lost four straight games and been outscored 16-6 in those losses. 15 of the 17 goals they’ve allowed this season have been on the even strength. Basically, this game is what a slumping Stars team needs to get back on track.
There’s no star power on Columbus but they do have a couple of players that fans should keep an eye on. Defenseman Fedor Tyutin leads the team with four points and three assists and youngster Ryan Johansen should be on of their faces of the future. Johansen has only two points so far on the season (two assists) but he leads the team in shots on goal and is the team’s leading face-off guy.
The starter in goal tonight will most likely be Sergei Bobrovsky. He’s 1-1-1 on the season with a 2.85 GAA. He’s faced Dallas twice in his career (both while with Philadelphia and both games were in Dallas) and has a 2-0-0 record with a 1.44 GAA and a .951 SV%.
Columbus has one injury of note with winger Cam Atkinson on injured reserve with a lower body injury.
Possible line combos:
Foligno – Anisimov – Umberger
Brassard – Dubinsky – Dorsett
Calvert – Johansen – Prospal
MacKenzie – Letestu – Boll
Johnson – Wisniewski
Tyutin – Nikitin
Aucoin – Moore
The Jamie Benn saga still isn’t quite complete just yet. Benn still needs to get his work visa worked out by this afternoon if he wants to play in tonight’s game. Dallas needs him to play just so that he can get used to his linemates as soon as possible. There’s going to be some hand wringing among Stars fans as they hope for Benn to get his visa sorted out. Benn made some highlight reel plays against the Blue Jackets last season so hopefully he gets on the ice tonight.
Jaromir Jagr is dealing with a back problem but he should be able to play tonight. Derek Roy is supposedly dealing with a groin issue and is questionable for tonight. Cody Eakin could get the call again tonight to center the top line.
Michael Ryder has found himself back on a hot streak as he has three goals in the Stars last two games. He’s found joy working alongside Eakin and Whitney and hopefully that continues no matter who the center is (hopefully not Wandell though).
Kari Lehtonen should be making the start tonight, although he might have some slight lingering injury issues. Cristopher Nilstorp was placed on IR with a groin problem so Richard Bachman is back on the team as the backup.
Eriksson – Benn– Jagr
Whitney – Eakin – Ryder
Morrow – Fiddler – Nystrom
Garbutt – Wandell – Smith
Goligoski – Robidas
Benn – Daley
Larsen – Dillon