The Dallas Stars moved to within two points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. The Stars picked up one point on eighth place Chicago, which lost 2-1 in overtime at Montreal on Tuesday. Kari Lehtonen stopped 23 shots for his third shutout of the season for the Stars. Steve Ott, Loui Eriksson and Brenden Morrow scored the goals.
“It keeps us alive. It keeps our momentum moving forward. Now we’ve got two wins in a row. And now we start our preparation for the next game against Colorado almost immediately. You can savor these victories, but not for very long. … It doesn’t matter who they are against this time of year, they are all going to be intense games and we knew Columbus would be intense tonight. They are a stingy team and I thought for our team to stay with it as long as they did because this is always a tough game when you come back after a long road trip.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford
“It was huge and I think the way we played was good, too. We wanted to get a couple goals early, we weren’t able to and it ended up being a very tight game. We played very well in our own end. There was not anything crazy going on in front of me. That’s good.” – Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen
“Let’s be realists here, we need points. For us to stick in his race it’s definitely not going to be easy and it wasn’t tonight. We need to continue to find ways to win those games. … It was a really hard game. Give a lot of credit to Columbus to play a pretty solid game.” – Stars forward Steve Ott
*The Stars finished the season with a 14-5-1 record against the Central Division.
*The Stars have not allowed a power play goal in the six of their last seven games, going 9-10 on the penalty kill during that stretch.
*Kari Lehtonen’s shutout was his third of the season and the 17th of his career.
*Steve Ott’s goal was his first since March 17.
*Brenden Morrow’s goal was his 30th of the season, marking the second time in his career that he has hit the 30-goal mark. He scored 32 in 2007-08.
The Stars struck on their first power play to the take the lead 5:00 into the game. Brad Richards’ shot from the point was deflected into the net by Steve Ott.
The Blue Jackets, who outshot the Stars 10-5, made a strong push late in the period and drew a couple of power play chances but couldn’t take advantage.
The Blue Jackets lost defenseman Kris Russell early in the first period with what turned out to be a broken ankle. After suffering the injury, Russell crawled off the ice.
Defenseman Brad Lukowich and forward Tomas Vincour were scratches for the Stars. Defenseman Nicklas Grossman (knee), forward Adam Burish (leg) and forward Brian Sutherby (back) remain out.
The Stars outshot the Blue Jackets 11-5 in the second period, but there was no scoring. The Stars had two power plays in the period, but couldn’t extend the lead.
Stars captain Brenden Morrow had a good chance to extend the lead 3:08 into the third, but Blue Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon made a great save to keep it a 1-0 game.
The Blue Jackets got a puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen with 4:43 left in the game, but it was waved off because Columbus forward Derek Dorsett was given a goaltender interference penalty for pushing Loui Eriksson into Lehtonen.
The Blue Jackets pulled Garon with a little more than a minute to go and Loui Eriksson sealed the win with an empty net goal with 53 seconds remaining. Brenden Morrow scored another empty net goal with 19.2 seconds remaining to make it a 3-2 final.
Injured: Burish (leg), Grossman (knee), Sutherby (back)
Scratches: Vincour, Lukowich
Power play units
Penalty kill units