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Stars to close productive trip vs. Blue Jackets

Dec 12, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Jason Robertson (21) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The visiting Dallas Stars will try to close out a strong road trip with another victory against the reeling Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.

Dallas has picked up five out of eight points on its five-game road trip thus far, including a 5-4 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Even in defeat, the Stars showed staying power after they rallied for two goals in the third period to force overtime.

“Big point, down 4-2 in the third, quite a bit of adversity all night,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said. “I’ve been happy with the group.”

The Stars were led by Jason Robertson, who had three assists and now has 46 points in 32 games. Robertson’s line, with Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz, have been one of the best units in the NHL this season. Hintz has 35 points and Pavelski has 31.

Led by that line, the Stars have the second-best record in the Western Conference and best in the Central Division with 42 points in their 32 games.

Things have gone much worse in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets are last in the Eastern Conference with 22 points and have a negative-40 goal differential this season.

Columbus is trying to dig itself out of a three-game losing streak when it has been outscored 12-3.

The losing skid includes a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, when Columbus was inches away from being on the receiving end of a goal by Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman into an empty net.

“There’s been several games here we’ve put a lot of good minutes in,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “It’s a couple moments that’s hurting us, and that’s the frustrating part because you’re pouring a lot into these games, you’re not getting any results, so it’s too bad.”

Despite their disappointing play, the Blue Jackets just show some progression with their power play. Columbus Saturday’s game with the NHL’s worst statistical power play but did score both goals with the man advantage against Boston.

“It was great to get those couple goals,” Columbus’ Patrik Laine said. “But when they score four, two’s not gonna cut it. So, just got to kind of regroup and take the positives from this game and then move on.”

Johnny Gaudreau leads the Blue Jackets with 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) in 30 games, while captain Boone Jenner has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists). After that, the Blue Jackets don’t have any other players to hit the 20-point mark.

The Stars have six players with at least 23 points this season. In fact, the Stars top line has a combined 112 points, which is one more than the Blue Jackets’ top six scorers combined.

In goal, the Stars are expected to turn back to starting goalie Jake Oettinger. The Blue Jackets have been struggling to find goaltending consistency and Elvis Merzlikins is likely to play Monday.

–Field Level Media