Stars Look to Continue Playoff Push vs. Blue Jackets

Wednesday, 04.9.2014 / 1:40 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Look to Continue Playoff Push vs. Blue Jackets

The Dallas Stars continue their push for a playoff spot when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at American Airlines Center.

The Stars come into tonight with a two point lead over Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with both teams having three games left.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot. We are just going to take it one game at a time,” said Stars defenseman Jordie Benn. “We are pretty excited for tonight. Obviously we are down 1-0 tonight, but we’ve got 60 minutes to win a hockey game.”

This is the make-up game for the March 10 contest that was postponed due to Rich Peverley’s cardiac event on the bench. Tonight’s contest will be a full 60-minute game with Columbus holding the 1-0 lead it had when the March 10 game was suspended.

The first goal in a game often is key and could be even more important tonight.

“This one is huge. Obviously you don’t want to go down 2-0,” said Benn. “It’s a different scenario, never been in a game where a team is already leading 1-0. We just have to go in there like a normal game, even if they end up do scoring that goal, it’s not a big deal, we’ve got 60 minutes and we have enough firepower up front that we can score a few goals.”

With the league having to find a spot in the schedule to play this game, the Stars are having to play their fourth game in five nights. This will be the fifth in seven nights for Columbus. Both teams are on the second night of back-to-backs.

But finding a little extra energy shouldn’t be hard for both teams. The Stars and Blue Jackets both are zeroing on playoff spots. The Stars can move closer to that spot with a win, Columbus can clinch a spot with two points.

“We should be able to overcome [any fatigue] with the adrenaline rush of where we are at,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We know it’s tough, they played last night too. We just look at it as back-to-back games, we don’t want to be digging any further back than that.”

And they look at it as an opportunity to grab a big two points in the playoff race.

“We want this,” said Benn. “Every game is getting bigger and bigger. With only three left, this one is huge.”

The Stars held an optional skate this morning. The fourth line of Erik Cole, Dustin Jeffrey and Alex Chiasson, which saw limited time in last night’s game, skated. So did defensemen Kevin Connauton and Aaron Rome and goaltender Tim Thomas.

The Stars are likely to go with the same group of forwards and defensemen as last night, but Ruff would not make an announcement as far as whether Kari Lehtonen or Thomas would start in goal.

“I’ll either go with Lehts or Timmy,” Ruff said when asked about the goaltending for tonight.

There is no word on who will start in goal for the Blue Jackets. Forward Nathan Horton, who will be credited with the goal at the beginning of tonight’s game, is out. He did not travel with the Blue Jackets after leaving last night’s game against Phoenix with a lower body injury.

Wednesday’s game

Who: Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour
Erik ColeDustin JeffreyAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Patrik NemethSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen/Tim Thomas

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Matt Frattin
Blake Comeau – Artem Anisimov - Mark Letestu
Corey Tropp - Derek MacKenzie – Jack Skille

James Wisniewski - Fedor Tyutin
Jack Johnson – Dalton Prout
Ryan Murray - David Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky/Curtis McElhinney

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.




1 CHI 55 35 16 4 153 127 74
2 DAL 52 33 14 5 169 137 71
3 STL 54 29 17 8 128 128 66
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 50 27 19 4 145 132 58
6 COL 54 27 23 4 146 148 58
7 NSH 52 24 20 8 130 137 56
8 ANA 49 24 18 7 106 113 55
9 MIN 51 23 19 9 126 122 55
10 ARI 51 24 21 6 136 156 54
11 VAN 51 20 19 12 119 138 52
12 CGY 49 22 24 3 129 145 47
13 WPG 50 22 25 3 129 143 47
14 EDM 52 21 26 5 130 151 47


J. Benn 52 28 30 16 58
T. Seguin 52 27 28 12 55
J. Klingberg 52 8 35 17 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 52 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 52 10 13 2 23
A. Goligoski 52 3 20 20 23
M. Janmark 52 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 50 8 10 6 18
V. Nichushkin 49 6 12 8 18
A. Niemi 20 9 5 .910 2.46
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .908 2.82 is the official Web site of DSE Hockey Club, L.P.  The Stars name and logos are registered trademarks of the NHL and the Stars. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 DSE Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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