PREVIEW: Columbus Blue Jackets aim to extend win streak vs. skidding Stars

Mar 4, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner (38) skates against the Stars as Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin (35) defends the goal during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the Columbus Blue Jackets have rebounded from their worst losing stretch of the season.

The Dallas Stars, meanwhile, have been struggling for a month.

Looking for a season-high third straight victory, the visiting Blue Jackets will also try to extend the Stars’ skid to five in a row on Saturday night.

Columbus was mired in an 0-4-1 rut when it won 4-1 over Detroit at home on Tuesday, then followed with Thursday’s 3-2 victory at Dallas. Boone Jenner had a goal with an assist while Oliver Bjorkstrand and Eric Robinson also scored Thursday as the Jackets held on to win back-to-back contests for the first time since Feb. 8 and 11.

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They have also clamped down defensively in the last two contests after allowing an average of 3.4 goals during that five-game losing streak.

“I thought we just came together as a team, buckled up a little bit and got back to our game,” said Bjorkstrand, who has a point in two straight games after going without one in the previous three.

Bjorkstrand has two goals with an assist in the last two meetings versus Dallas. Jenner has five goals and four assists in his last 11 games overall. Meanwhile, teammate Joonas Korpisalo has stopped 41 of 44 shots he’s faced while starting the last two games for Columbus. Current backup Veini Vehvilainen has yet to make his NHL debut.

Though Dallas mustered just 24 shots on goal Thursday against the Jackets, it snapped a nine-period goal drought when Miro Heiskanen scored 7:35 into the third and Jason Robertson followed with his third of the year to make things interesting. Still, the Stars have been outscored 13-4 while losing its last four all in regulation.

“We have to play 60 minutes (of a) hockey game,” Heiskanen, who recorded his first goal of the season, said after the loss. “We can’t play 40 or 20. We have to play the whole game. And, right when the puck drops, we have to start playing. That’s it.”

Dallas, 1-7-3 since Feb. 4, hasn’t dropped five straight in regulation since a six-game skid during January 2014. The Stars’ current 0-3-3 home rut is their longest there since a seven-game losing stretch from Oct. 28 to Nov. 18, 2014.

“It’s not good, I will tell you that,” captain Jamie Benn told the Stars’ official website. “We have to find a way to win some hockey games.”

Dallas’ Joe Pavelski has scored just one of his team-leading 10 goals over the last six games. Teammate Anton Khudobin, who made 19 saves Thursday, has a 3.39 goals-against average while losing his last three starts. He’s also lost three straight starts versus Columbus.

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Backup Jake Oettinger (2-1-3, 2.31 GAA) made his last start on Feb. 25, but stopped 23 shots during a 6-3 win at Columbus on Feb. 2.

The Blue Jackets snapped an 0-3-1 road slide on Thursday.

–Field Level Media