Dallas Stars (9-8-2, 20 pts) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (5-12-2, 12 pts)
6:00 PM CT
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
The Blue Jackets – 15th in the West
Goals – 30th, Goals Against – 20th, Power Play – 28th, Penalty Kill – 9th
What’s to say about the Blue Jackets? They’re still very very bad and are wallowing at the bottom of the NHL standings heading into tonight. They’ve won only five games all year (three in February) and have yet to string two wins together.
The thing is one of those wins this season came against these Dallas Stars and Columbus hasn’t been playing terrible hockey lately. Their last three losses (to solid teams like Anaheim, St. Louis and Chicago) have all been by just one goal and they’ve been on an extended six game road trip.
CBJ comes back home tonight to host a weary beat-up Dallas team that’s been terrible on those back-to-backs. The Blue Jackets are not a good team but not quite as horrible as people might make them out to be.
Sergei Bobrovsky should be getting the nod tonight between the pipes.
They’ll be without their top two defensemen James Wisniewski (broken foot) and Jack Johnson (upper body) and center Brandon Dubinsky (knee). Top center Artem Anisimov is doubtful with a head injury.
Possible line combos:
Foligno – Brassard – Umberger
Letestu – Johansen – Dorsett
Calvert – MacKenzie – Prospal
Gillies – Drazenovic – Boll
Tyutin – Nikitin
Moore – Aucoin
Erixon – Goloubef
Dallas – 8th in the West
Goals – 18th, Goals Against – 17th, Power Play – 11th, Penalty Kill – 11th
There’s only one narrative tonight for the Stars. The back-to-back problem. The fans know it, the coaches know it, the players know it. This team sucks on the second night of back-to-backs.
It’s tough to find a better opportunity to get that off their backs than a game against the Blue Jackets and here it is.
The defense has to roughly 10x better than whatever the hell that was last night. This is a Blue Jackets team missing four key players and has a lot of trouble scoring. Allowing three or more goals tonight and Dallas deserves to lose.
I’m expecting Bachman in net tonight to give Nilstorp a break. Kari Lehtonen is skating and a game-time decision but that shouldn’t even be a decision at all. Keep him out until he’s 100% healthy.
Rome, Larsen and Whitney are all out for tonight. I would expect Roussel to return to the lineup in place of Fraser.
Morrow – Benn – Jagr
Eriksson – Roy – Smith
Roussel – Eakin – Ryder
Nystrom – Fiddler – Garbutt
Dillon – Robidas
Benn – Daley
Goligoski – Oleksiak