Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars

Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars

David Marrinan-Hayes
3 years ago
4 min read

Here is a closer look at this matchup ahead of puck drop. Following the game, the Jackets will head back home to Columbus to host the Panthers and the Stars once again for two games each.

Previous Matchups

There were plenty of fireworks in the third period on Thursday, with four goals scored in under nine minutes. Entering the final frame with a 1-0 lead, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Eric Robinson scored less than two minutes to put Columbus up 3-0. Although they gave up a pair of goals to Dallas in the following minutes, the Jackets managed to hold on for the 3-2 win. It was a fairly even game, with just two shots separating the teams and an equal amount of penalties and power play opportunities.

Thursday was similar to the last time these teams faced off against each other. Back on February 4th, Columbus used a two-goal lead in the first period to hold on for the 4-3 win at home. Bjorkstrand scored in that game as well, along with the newer additions Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine, plus Cam Atkinson's second of the year. Once again, the game was nearly-even in shots and faceoffs won, while being equal in penalty minutes yet again.

The one time Columbus fell short against Dallas came two days prior, where Dallas used a four-goal second period, two of which coming on the power play, to beat the Blue Jackets 6-3. It was one of Joonas Korpisalo's worst outings in net this season, giving up five goals on 23 shots in just under 34 minutes of action. 

Key Stats

Starting with the opponent, the Stars have dropped off considerably from their red-hot start. The Stanley Cup runner-ups are averaging 2.67 goals per game, ranking 24th in the NHL, while averaging the fourth-fewest shots with 27.6 per game. Their 25.8 percent rate on the power play is still good enough to crack the top-10, although they've gone three straight without converting with the extra man.

Defensively, Dallas is still ninth with both 2.67 goals allowed and just under 29 shots allowed per game. Their penalty kill is a little ways off the top, ranking 16th with a 78.8 percent kill rate, but they have successfully fended off eight out of nine power plays in the three games against Columbus.

Columbus, meanwhile, is still near the bottom of every significant statistic on both sides. Their 2.72 goals per game and 28.8 shots per game rank 22nd and 25th, although both are ahead of Dallas. However, their 16.9 percent success rate on the power play is well-short of the Stars.

Defensively, the Jackets are 24th and 23rd respectively in goals and shots allowed, averaging 3.12 and 31.2 per game. But although their penalty kill is just 25th at 73.7 percent, they do an excellent job staying out of the box. Only two teams are averaging fewer than Columbus' 6.9 penalty minutes per game.

Who to Watch

One prominent name to keep an eye on for the Blue Jackets is Bjorkstrand. The 25-year old has already scored twice this season against Dallas and is just one point behind Atkinson's team-leading 19. Along with Bjorkstrand and Atkinson, the latter having a two-point game earlier this week, Boone Jenner has registered goals in back-to-back games to give him eight on the year.

Additionally, Columbus is grateful to have both of their best defensemen on the ice. Seth Jones and Zach Werenski have each dished out assists this week and skated for more than 25 minutes each against the Stars on Thursday.

Speaking of the Stars, not one player has registered more than a single point in the last seven days, and only six players have registered points altogether. The only player for Dallas that has exceeded expectations is Joe Pavelski, the longtime Shark, who leads the team with 10 goals and 21 points.

Shockingly, the next-highest goal scorers have four goals on the year, one of them being the captain Jamie Benn. But like Columbus, the Stars also boast a couple of puck-moving, play-making defensemen in John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen. Klingberg has a team-high 12 assists, while Heiskanen netted his first goal of the year on Thursday to go with his nine helpers.

What Could Happen?

It's clear that the Blue Jackets have a lot more momentum right now than the Stars do, but this game could break either way. Dallas has actually outshot Columbus all three times they've played, even if by small margins, and both of the Jackets' wins have come by a single score.

One promising note has to be Columbus' success against Stars goalie Anton Khudobin this season. Khudobin was in net for both of Dallas' losses, allowing four goals on 25 shots the first time and three goals in 22 shots on Thursday. Another good thing is the Blue Jackets' aversion to taking tons of penalties. Even if the Stars are struggling, they still boast a top-10 power play overall, something the Jackets saw in full-force in their first meeting this season.

It will be tough for Columbus to win another game on the road, especially given their 4-6-2 road record. But with Dallas struggling and a win inching them closer to a coveted playoff spot, look for the Blue Jackets to turn up the heat before heading back home.

Betting Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets (+118).

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