DALLAS - The Stars have pretty much had their way with the Blue Jackets since Columbus entered the league in 2000. The 10-year-olds made up for some of it on Thursday.
In a rough-and-tumble game, the Blue Jackets scored three times on the power play, and goalie Steve Mason, making his first start in three games, made 25 saves to turn back Dallas, 4-1, at American Airlines Center.
Columbus scored twice in a penalty and fight-filled first period, then benefited from a 5-minute boarding major penalty incurred by James Neal seven minutes into the second period by scoring two more times during the elongated man advantage to help ice the game.
By the time it was over, the Stars, who came in with an impressive 24-4-4 all-time mark against Columbus, had lost their top goal scorer and their second game in their last three.
"They played hard and we didn't really have an answer for it," said center Mike Modano, who scored Dallas' lone goal. "We looked a little fatigued, but there's really no reason for it. We've had a few days off, and not a lot of guys played high minutes last night (in Detroit). It's unfortunate…playing such a good game in Detroit, to come back and have that effort."
The game turned when Neal checked Columbus forward Derek Dorsett from behind and into the glass in the middle frame, drawing a game misconduct and maybe a league review for a hit that knocked a woozy and wobbly Dorsett out of the game.
"I didn't have any intent to injure him or hit him in a vulnerable position," Neal said. "I hope he's ok over there."
After killing the first three minutes of the ensuing power play, Kristian Huselius and Raffi Torres struck for a pair of goals in 20 seconds that gave the Blue Jackets a 4-0 edge.
Huselius wound up with two goals and an assist, and Rick Nash also scored for Columbus, which began a five-game road trip by winning its third straight, and fifth in the last six contests.
Marty Turco made 24 saves for the Stars, who've now alternated wins and losses over their last six games.
Dallas outplayed the Blue Jackets in an opening period that featured three separate fights -- and one skirmish that led to Nash and defenseman Stephane Robidas' earning roughing penalties for mucking it up in the left corner of the Dallas end -- and 52 minutes in penalties
But despite outshooting Columbus by a 14-11 margin in the first 20 minutes, the Stars found themselves down 2-0 on a power-play goal by Nash and a shorthanded tally by Huselius. Huselius' goal was a killer, coming with just .3 seconds on the clock.
"Our special teams struggled, giving up the goal on the PK, and then on the PP," center Brad Richards said. "The shorthanded goal that late in the period put us in a hole, and obviously in the second period we got into some other things that had us chasing the game. Sometimes you don't execute because you're not quite ready to do a little extra, like win the extra battles, and we lost a lot of those early."
In the second period during Neal's penalty, Huselius popped his eighth goal in with 9:37 left to give the Blue Jackets a 3-0 lead. Huselius grabbed a Nicklas Grossman turnover in the slot before quickly depositing it past Turco.
Torres upped the edge to 4-0 just 20 ticks later when he one-timed a pass from Jakub Voracek while standing in the bottom portion of the right circle.
The Stars finally broke through on Mason when Modano blistered a one-timer from the right circle after accepting a slick cross-ice feed from rookie Jamie Benn with 4:25 left in the second.
"He's been good," Modano said about Benn. "There's a lot of high expectations on him, and there's a lot of onus on him to come play every night. But it's hard to expect a lot from a teenager, or 20-year-old, to do that consistently throughout the season. You're going to have some flashes where he has some great games, and you take the downside, and hopefully there's more ups than downs. But he can make some plays, and you can see there's a lot of talent there."
Nash struck first by picking up his 14th goal at 8:30 of the first period while the Blue Jackets were enjoying a power play. After Turco blocked Antoine Vermette's jam-in attempt from in tight, Nash swooped in to chip a loose puck in while it was lying in the crease.
Huselius produced his seventh goal of the year while the Blue Jackets were shorthanded with less than a full second left in the first. At the Columbus blue line, Mike Ribeiro turned the puck over to Huselius, who promptly took off down the right wing on a 2-on-1 break. From the right circle, Huselius cut to the slot before unleashing a wrist shot that beat Turco.
The Stars will have a day off before taking the American Airlines Center ice again on Saturday night when they host the New Jersey Devils (7 p.m., My27). The Devils fell one win short of tying the NHL record of 10 consecutive road wins to start the, season set by the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres, when they lost to Philadelphia, 3-2, on Monday night.
That loss also snapped New Jersey's eight-game overall winning streak.
--Left wing Fabian Brunnstrom was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day because of a shoulder injury. Warren Peters was recalled for Texas of the AHL.
--The Stars began a stretch in which they'll play seven of their next nine at American Airlines Center, including four straight.
--The Stars had killed 17 straight penalties until Nash's first-period man-advantage goal.
--All three of the first-period fights came during a 2:40 stretch: Krystofer Barch took on Columbus winger Jared Boll, Steve Ott went toe-to-toe with Blue Jackets left wing Jason Chimera, and defenseman Trevor Daley exchanged punches with Dorsett.
--Turco dropped to 5-2-1 in his last eight games, and 14-2-2 lifetime against the Blue Jackets.
--Modano has a four-game points streak (3-2-5).
--Left wing Loui Eriksson had his six-game points streak snapped.