Canada

Stars aim to finish strong vs. Blue Jackets

The Dallas Stars manhandled the Columbus Blue Jackets in the teams’ first meeting of the season before it all went south for the Lone Star State representatives.

Dallas lost the rematch and carries a disastrous 1-6-3 record over its last 10 games into Thursday’s contest against the visiting Blue Jackets.

The Stars enter the tilt having been shut out in consecutive encounters by Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Tampa Bay Lightning, including a 2-0 decision on Tuesday in Dallas.

“As soon you let the frustration take over, then there’s no getting out of it,” Dallas forward Jason Dickinson said. “We’ve got a great group of guys here that have banded together through a lot. I don’t think it’s something that’s going to tear us down. We’re just going to keep plugging away.

“We might get a lot of people saying that we just keep saying that; it’s just a lot of talk. But if you watch our game, we’re dominating five-on-five right now.”

So what’s the problem?

“We’re missing finishing,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “We’re creating enough chances. We’re creating shots and opportunities but we’re lacking a little finish right now … a little puck luck around the net.”

Dallas has mustered just six goals in its past five games, with half of that total coming in its lone win in that stretch — a 3-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Feb. 24.

Joe Pavelski scored two goals and set up two others in Dallas’ 6-3 romp over Columbus on Feb. 2 before adding an assist two nights later in a 4-3 setback against the Blue Jackets. Pavelski leads the Stars in goals (10) and points (20).

Columbus native Jack Roslovic dented the scoresheet in both encounters against the Stars and added a goal on Tuesday as the Blue Jackets snapped a five-game winless skid (0-4-1) with a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Roslovic has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in his last 15 games.

Cam Atkinson boosted his team-leading goal total to 10 after netting his NHL-best fourth short-handed tally in the first period on Tuesday. His short-handed goal total during a single season is one shy of Rick Nash (2008-09) for the most in franchise history.

Atkinson added an assist on Roslovic’s power-play tally during his team’s three-goal second period, giving him 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in his last 13 games.

“We talked about it actually, between the second and third,” Atkinson said. “We said that was our best second period of the season so far. For whatever reason, we just stayed on top of our game, stayed on our toes and tried to go get the next goal. I think it showed.”

Joonas Korpisalo, who made 19 saves, was in net for both meetings with Dallas last month. He sports a 3-2-0 record with a 3.48 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in five career encounters with the Stars.

Dallas’ Anton Khudobin has stopped 120 of 128 shots over his last four games but has only one win — a shutout — to show for it. He fell to 3-3-1 with a 2.43 GAA and .917 save percentage in seven career starts versus the Blue Jackets after yielding four goals on 25 shots on Feb. 4.

–Field Level Media

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