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Stars Head To Columbus To Take On Reeling Blue Jackets

(Sports Network) - The struggling Columbus Blue Jackets will try to avoid a fourth straight loss tonight, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets lost all three games on a recent road trip, dropping overtime decisions in Calgary and Vancouver before being dealt a regulation loss Thursday night in Edmonton.

Columbus, which is just 2-6-3 in its last 11 games, is now hoping a home stint can help it get back on track. The Blue Jackets have won two straight on home ice and will try to extend that mini-streak when they kick off a three-game homestand this evening.

The Blue Jackets are 8-7-1 overall at Nationwide Arena this season.

Dallas, meanwhile, has lost two of its last three games and is 2-2-2 since a five-game winning streak from Nov. 24-Dec. 4.

This evening's test is the second meeting between the Blue Jackets and Stars this year after Dallas dropped a shootout decision in Columbus on Dec. 6. The Jackets have won three in a row and four out of five in the series overall and Dallas has lost three straight in Ohio.

The Blue Jackets were dealt a 6-3 loss Thursday night in Edmonton as Jordan Eberle notched two goals and Linus Omark posted a goal and two assists for the Oilers. Kristian Huselius provided all the offense for Columbus, recording his second career hat trick in the losing effort.

Steve Mason stopped just 21-of-27 shots before getting pulled at the start of the third. Mathieu Garon stopped all nine shots he faced in the final 20 minutes.

"Every player has got their off-nights," Columbus center Derick Brassard said of Mason's tough outing. "We could have helped him better in the first by scoring more goals, but we didn't bury our chances. But he will bounce back. He's a great goaltender; right now we just have to help him out."

Mason fell to 9-9-1 with a 3.29 GAA on the season and yielded three or more goals for the fourth time in his last six starts. Garon, however, is 7-3-2 this season with a stellar 1.97 GAA and could get the start tonight.

On the injury front, Columbus forward Derek Dorsett and Rostislav Klesla are both questionable tonight with lower-body injuries.

The Stars played their last two games against the San Jose Sharks, although it was not a home-and-home series since San Jose faced Nashville in between its meetings with Dallas. The Stars notched a 3-2 shootout victory Monday in San Jose before dropping Thursday's 4-3 overtime decision to the Sharks in Dallas.

Logan Couture's power-play goal at the 1:20 mark of OT lifted San Jose to the win at American Airlines Center. It was the Sharks' only goal on seven opportunities with the man advantage.

Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow and Tom Wandell lit the lamp for the Stars and Kari Lehtonen made his return to the net after missing four games with a back injury. Lehtonen lost despite stopping 39 shots.

"I think we got three or four times more penalties than they did, and they couldn't put it away," said Lehtonen of San Jose's seven power-plays to two for Dallas. "The penalty killers did a great job. When you look at that and the shot column, you can say it was good that we got one point."

Dallas ended a three-game road losing streak with Monday's victory in San Jose and the Stars are just 7-7-1 as the visiting team this season. The Stars will play the Red Wings in Detroit tomorrow before returning to Big D for a three-game homestand.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.