Stars vs. Blue Jackets Preview
The Stars look to continue their run Monday night when they try to extend the Blue Jackets' winless streak to six games.
Dallas (16-8-1) is in position for its first seven-game win streak since Jan. 29-Feb. 11, 2008. Five of the Stars' wins have been by one goal, including Saturday's 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Stephane Robidas' power-play goal in overtime.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Blue Jackets –117 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Stars. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 67% of more than 140 bets for this game have been placed on the Blue Jackets -117.
"We've continued to do good things at crucial times of the game and tonight, the power play shows up in overtime, we win a hockey game," center Steve Ott said. "Maybe it wasn't our best game out of the six we got going here, but we stuck together and big character win."
Like Dallas, Columbus (14-10-1) has been one of the bigger surprises in the Western Conference. The Blue Jackets were playing for the conference lead when they took the ice Nov. 26 against Detroit, but that loss started an 0-4-1 skid that included an ugly weekend.
Columbus fell 5-0 at Buffalo on Friday and 7-2 to red-hot Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Blue Jackets were the last team in the NHL to lose consecutive games, and now they are searching for answers.
"We have to figure out the remedy and how to be better," first-year coach Scott Arniel said. "We have to find a way to win (Monday). I thought that we had a real good conversation after the game last night and again today. You have to move on from period to period, from game to game."
Captain Rick Nash was one of the hottest players in the league with 13 points in a nine-game run Oct. 30-Nov. 22. He's managed one assist in six games since while R.J. Umberger failed to register a point over the weekend after entering on a 10-game run.
"We need to stick together," Umberger said. "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 thorough it."
The Stars, meanwhile, have been getting contributions from a number of players. Mike Ribeiro has one point in every game of this win streak while James Neal has two goals and two assists over the last two.
Kari Lehtonen has started four games in this run, posting a 1.73 goals-against average. Andrew Raycroft has allowed one goal in each of the two games he has won in this span.
"I think we got a bunch of different guys chipping in, different guys at different times," Robidas said. "Our goalies have been really good and I think we're playing with a lot more detail in our game, we're doing a lot of the little things and when we do those little things, like putting the puck in the zone, guys blocking shots, it's little things that make a huge difference in winning hockey games."
Dallas was 9-0-2 in its previous 11 games at Columbus before losing both visits in regulation last season.