(Sports Network) – Rick Nash scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and Steve Mason stopped 29 shots, as the resurgent Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Dallas Stars, 2-1, at American Airlines Center.
Matt Calvert notched the other goal for the Blue Jackets, who have won five of their last six to climb within four points of the final Western Conference playoff spot.
“It was a pretty hard-fought game,” said Stars forward Steve Ott. “We had Kari playing phenomenal back there for us, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Just 4 1/2 minutes into the game, Dallas started the scoring during a strong power-play attack that saw several shots sail wide of the net. Finally, Richards carried the puck into the lower part of the left circle and wristed it past Mason.
Columbus responded, though, less than a minute later off an offensive zone faceoff win. From the high slot, Calvert snapped it past the outstretched leg of Lehtonen.
From there, the visitors dominated by outshooting the Stars in the first period, 18-6.
The domination finally paid dividends at the 6:33 mark of the second when Nash raced out to a breakaway and roofed a backhander for a 2-1 lead just before Lehtonen could poke it away.
“It was just kind of an old school backhand,” Nash said. “I thought it went off the post and then everyone started to raise their hands.”
Columbus held onto the lead the rest of the way as Mason made 14 saves in the final period to preserve the win.
Columbus has won five straight on the road…Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman left the game in the first with a lower-body injury and did not return…Dallas will start a three-game road trip in Edmonton on Tuesday…Columbus will host Los Angeles on Wednesday…Richards has posted six points in his past six games…Anton Stralman assisted on both of Columbus’ goals…Dallas was 1-for-6 on the power play and squandered two power play chances in the third period…Columbus was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.