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Stars Look For Seventh Straight Win In Columbus

(Sports Network) - As the Dallas Stars have charged to the top of the Pacific Division, the Columbus Blue Jackets have yet to halt their first losing streak of the season.

The Stars aim for a seventh straight victory, while the Blue Jackets hope to end a five-game slide this evening at Nationwide Arena.

Dallas has won six straight for the first time since a seven-game run from Jan. 29-Feb. 11, 2008 and is 8-1-1 over its last 10 games. The Stars escaped Saturday's game versus the Wild with a 4-3 overtime victory after blowing leads of 2-0 and 3-2.

Stephane Robidas scored with 1:23 left in OT, one-timing a Mike Ribeiro feed from the high slot into the back of the net. Ribeiro's assist gave him a pair of goals and four helpers over a six-game point streak, while Steve Ott finished with a goal and an assist.

"It's the little things that make a huge difference in hockey games and I think that's what we've been able to do lately," said Robidas, whose club owns a one-point lead over Phoenix in the division.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 28 shots in the win, his 13th of the season.

Dallas carries a three-game road winning streak into this meeting and will be aiming to deal Columbus a fourth straight loss at home this evening. The Blue Jackets hadn't lost consecutive games all season until this current five- game slide, which includes an 0-2-1 run at home.

Columbus' fate was sealed in the first period of Saturday's game against charging Pittsburgh, which scored four goals in the opening frame en route to handing the Blue Jackets a 7-2 defeat.

Steve Mason gave up four goals on 13 shots before being lifted in the first period in favor of Mathieu Garon, who made 19 saves the rest of the way.

Samuel Pahlsson and Chris Clark had the goals for the Blue Jackets, who were coming off a 5-0 setback in Buffalo the previous night.

"We need to stick together," said Columbus forward R.J. Umberger. "We are going to get through this. We didn't think it was going to be easy, we knew there were going to be tough times. We are going to push through it, we are going to stick together as a team and get through it."

The Blue Jackets did take three of four from the Stars last year and have been able to get points in this series over the last few seasons, going 9-4-4 in the last 17 meetings.

Columbus took both games at home last year and are 3-1-3 in the last seven versus Dallas at Nationwide Arena.

Lehtonen has faced the Blue Jackets just once before, allowing two goals on 28 shots faced while with Atlanta in a loss on Dec. 26, 2007.

Mason is 2-1-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average in his career versus the Stars, while Garon is 6-6-1 with a 2.95 GAA when facing them.

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