Stars End Road Trip Against Ailing Blue Jackets

Dallas gets a break after tough road swing, but can’t afford to take Columbus lightly.

Saturday nights game against the Carolina Hurricanes showed both the good and bad sides of Dallas Stars hockey. For much of the game, the Stars found themselves hemmed into their defensive zone, falling behind twice - only to storm back in the third period to tie the game and send it to overtime.

In overtime, the Stars dominated possession, but then gave up a high danger chance that ended in the back of the net. The optimist talks about the hard earned point, while the pessimist worries about sustainability.

In any case, Dallas has pulled in five points of a possible eight so far on this road trip through the Metropolitan Division - and most of that was against the top end of that Division.

Up next, and to end it all, are the Columbus Blue Jackets - a team that hasn’t jelled and has been decimated by injury. Its the kind of game that prior Stars teams would take lightly, play down to their competition and ultimately lose. So far this year, the Pete DeBoer Stars have avoided that fate and have taken care of business.

We’ll see tonight.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Joel Kiviranta (25) – Ty Dellandrea (10) – Tyler Seguin (91)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Mason Marchment (27)
Riley Tufte (15) – Luke Glendening (11) - Radek Faksa (12)

Miro Heiskanen (4) – Nils Lundkvist (5)
Ryan Suter (20) – Colin Miller (6)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)

Tufte appears to be drawing in on the fourth line. It’s a role that he’s worked to perfection in Cedar Park. If you haven’t watched many Texas Stars game, look for improvement in puck possession. Tufte appears to have adjusted to his size and is using it to his physical advantage.

Denis Gurianov is the scratch. Beyond that, the team continues to try different combinations with the middle six forwards. At some point, you’d hope something would stick.

Columbus Blue Jackets Lineup

Johnny Gaudreau (13) - Kent Johnson (91) - Patrik Laine (29)
Yegor Chinakhov (59) - Jack Roslovic (96) - Gustav Nyquist (14)
Eric Robinson (50) - Sean Kuraly (7) - Kirill Marchenko (86)
Carson Meyer (72) - Liam Foudy (19) - Mathieu Olivier (24)

Vladislav Gavrikov (4) - Marcus Bjork (47)
Tim Berni (75) - Erik Gudbranson (44)
Jacob Christiansen (23) - Andrew Peeke (2)

Danill Tarasov (40)
Elvis Merzlikins (90)

Cole Silinger and Boone Jenner are out as of today with injuries (Jenner’s is going to keep him out for at least a month). They join multiple other players already on injured reserve: Jakub Voracek, Jake Bean, Joonas Korpisalo, Zach Werenski and Adam Boqvist.

Its pretty easy to see why the season has gone sideways. On the other hand, Johnny hockey is still a point per game player and Laine always seems to score against Dallas. There are also some high end prospects getting time with the NHL club instead of the Cleveland Monsters.

Gavin Bayreuther - previously of the Dallas organization - has been getting some time on the third pair, but appears to be a healthy scratch for tonights game.

Keys to the Game

Finish the trip. It’s been a busy week and its time to get back home. Don’t lose focus in a game that should turn out as a win.

Top Lines. Both are dangerous. There is some history of playing well against the Stars on the Columbus top group. Keeping Gaudreau and Laine in check needs to be a top priority.

Balance. Team depth is the Stars strength. Roll lines and keep up the pressure.