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Stars Vs. Blue Jackets: Dallas Looks To Close Out Homestand With Win

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars wrap a three-game homestand this afternoon aiming for consecutive victories as they battle the playoff-hopeful Columbus Blue Jackets at American Airlines Center.

The Stars dropped an overtime decision to the Coyotes to begin this stand on Wednesday for their sixth loss in seven games. However, Dallas moved back into the win column and improved to 5-1-2 in its last eight at home with Friday's 4-3 shootout victory over Chicago and former Stars goaltender Marty Turco.

Stephane Robidas, Brad Richards and Brenden Morrow all scored in regulation to erase an early three-goal deficit, while Morrow, Richards and Mike Ribeiro all beat Turco in the shootout.

Kari Lehtonen made 23 saves for Dallas, which moved back into first place in the Pacific Division, a point up on Phoenix and two ahead of both Anaheim and San Jose.

"We were going through a patch there where it wasn't too much fun," said Richards. "Then we go down 3-0 in front of a sold-out building and it wasn't too pretty for a bit, but we knew if we kept plugging away we could come back."

While the Stars are battling for a division crown, the Blue Jackets are just trying to work their way into a playoff spot. They have won four of their last five to climb within six points of the eighth-place Wild.

After blowing a two-goal lead in Wednesday's loss to San Jose that halted a three-game winning streak, Columbus rebounded with a 3-1 triumph over Colorado on Friday.

Rick Nash and Derick Brassard both scored second-period goals and Derek MacKenzie sealed things with an empty-net goal to give Columbus its sixth victory in nine games.

"We did get off to a slow start and my comments to the team [at the first intermission] were that our forwards had to get going," said Columbus head coach Scott Arniel. "I thought the second period our forwards started to get going, we got after their defense, started to create some turnovers and obviously got some big goals."

Mathieu Garon made 31 saves to collect his first win since Dec. 21 in his first start since Jan. 18. Steve Mason could get the start today and is 2-1-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average versus the Stars.

Columbus has won four straight as the guest, but has lost two of its last three in Dallas. The two teams split a pair of meetings in Ohio earlier this year and the Stars' 2-1 victory on Dec. 18 snapped a three-game slide to the Blue Jackets.

Lehtonen made 35 saves in that win to improve to 1-1-1 with a 1.64 GAA versus Columbus.

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