Series (Game 4 of 4)

Columbus leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, November 19th
Blue Jackets4Final
Game 2: Wednesday, December 23rd
Blue Jackets1Final
Game 3: Sunday, January 10th
Blue Jackets2
Game 4: Thursday, February 4th
Blue Jackets2

Stars 1

(25-21-11, 61 pts)

Blue Jackets 2

(23-27-9, 55 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 4, 2010

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
DAL 0 0 11
CBJ 1 0 12

S. Mason (Blue Jackets - G): Saves: 22, Save Pct.: .957

A. Stralman (Blue Jackets - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Umberger (Blue Jackets - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Stars-Blue Jackets Preview


After a solid performance in his return to the lineup, Marty Turco will try to lead the Dallas Stars to a much-needed road victory Thursday night against a Columbus Blue Jackets team playing its first game after firing coach Ken Hitchcock.

Turco earned three All-Star selections in his first seven seasons while posting one of the league's lowest goals-against averages in that span at 2.15. He endured his first losing campaign in 2008-09 while posting a then-career worst 2.81 GAA.

This season has proved even more trying as he is 16-14-8 with a 2.85 GAA. After giving up 17 goals in four games, Turco sat in place of Alex Auld in the first three of a four-game homestand before starting Tuesday night against Minnesota.

In a 4-2 victory, he made a season-high 40 saves and helped Dallas (25-20-11) collect its third win in four games.

"(Turco) was huge," coach Marc Crawford said. "That many shots, it's not the formula that we'd like. But I never felt we were out of control of the game."

Mike Modano scored his seventh goal in 10 games and added an assist to give him 1,353 points, tying Guy LaFleur for 24th on the NHL list. The 39-year-old Modano, who has benefited from recent days off from practice, is also tied for 23rd all-time with 556 goals.

Despite their veteran's hot stretch, the Stars are 1-9-2 on the road since Dec. 11 with their only win coming over the Western Conference's worst team, Edmonton, on Jan. 22.

"We've played well here at home," Crawford told the team's official Web site. "We're playing better and we've got to carry it on. There's no doubt if we're going to make the push we want to make, we have to make more hay on the road."

Dallas lost 2-0 at Columbus on Jan. 10 after splitting a pair of meetings at home. Turco started in both defeats after winning 14 of his previous 17 matchups.

He'll face a Columbus team that fired Hitchcock on Wednesday during an inconsistent stretch. At the start of a season-high six-game homestand, the Blue Jackets (22-27-9) have alternated wins and losses in their last eight games and split their past eight at Nationwide Arena.

Assistant coach Claude Noel was elevated to lead the team on an interim basis.

"This season has been very disappointing for the Blue Jackets organization and our fans," general manager Scott Howson said. "Hitch worked tirelessly to build an identity for this team that was missing before he arrived and deserves a great deal of credit for those efforts. He earned and received the opportunity to turn things around this season, but unfortunately that has not happened."

In Tuesday night's 5-1 loss at Colorado, Antoine Vermette scored his fourth goal in six games but Columbus' struggles in net continued. Mathieu Garon stopped 21 shots in his fourth defeat in six games.

Garon has a 3.87 GAA in that time, and Steve Mason, a Vezina finalist as a rookie, is 4-12-2 with a 3.17 GAA since the beginning of December. After giving up 223 goals in 2008-09, the Blue Jackets have allowed 185.

"We haven't been able to put a string of games together for a long time," Mason said following a 4-1 home loss to Los Angeles last Thursday.

Mason has a 2.03 GAA in two games against the Stars this season, and Garon posted the shutout last month.

Kristian Huselius, who has a team-leading five points against Dallas this season, returned from illness Tuesday.