Stars look to bounce back against Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets (9-22-5) travel to the American Airlines Center tonight to take on the Dallas Stars (20-14-1) in a Western Conference match up. Columbus comes into the game sat rock bottom of the NHL whilst the Dallas Stars are looking for two points to try and solidify a spot in the playoff picture.
Columbus and Dallas have already met twice this season in which the Stars took the points on both occasions. Dallas' new owner Tom Galardi has brought in a new $9 a ticket deal to try and boost crowd numbers, which have been poor of late. The new deal has definitely had an impact at the AAC as crowd numbers have increased as well as the atmosphere to cheer on the players. A decent crowd should be in tonight to see the first of a three game home stand.
With the Blue Jackets being bottom of the league and still looking for their first road win in regulation, you would have to tip the Stars to win tonight especially as they are on home ice. The main reason for the Blue Jackets' lack of success is their goaltending unit. Steve Mason will occupy the crease tonight who has a 0-8-0 record on the road with a save percentage of .839 this season.
The Stars are pleased to welcome Kari Lehtonen back in net tonight after 12 games on the sidelines. Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel has stated his game plan which is to get a lot of shots on Lehtonen early from anywhere on the ice to keep him on his toes and not let him settle down. The return of Lehtonen should definitely help the Stars out on the powerplay, which has struggled a lot of late.
Both teams come into the game after losing their previous one as the Jackets lost to the Flames in a shootout and the Stars fell short against the Blues. Sheldon Souray (ankle) and Stephane Robidas (foot) continue to be out for the Stars and Kristian Huselius (groin) and Radek Martinek (concussion) are both ruled out for the Jackets.
It is all set up for what should be an intriguing encounter between two teams who both need wins. Face off is 8.30pm ET in Dallas.