Series (Game 4 of 4)

Dallas leads 3-1

Game 1: Friday, November 1st
Blue Jackets4
Game 2: Sunday, November 17th
Blue Jackets2Final
Game 3: Wednesday, January 22nd
Blue Jackets2Final
Game 4: Tuesday, March 11th
Blue Jackets0

Stars 2

(39-14-2, 95 pts)

Blue Jackets 0

(24-35-3, 58 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 11, 2003

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
DAL 1 1 02
CBJ 0 0 00

R. Tugnutt (Stars - G): Saves: 25, Save Pct.: 1.000

M. Denis (Blue Jackets - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .944

U. Dahlen (Stars - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Tugnutt stops 25 shots to earn second shutout in a row

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The last time Ron Tugnutt played in Columbus, he spent more time meeting old friends than taking care of his responsibilities with his new team.

 Ron Tugnutt

Even a veteran can learn from such an experience.

Tugnutt stopped 25 shots to earn his second shutout in a row as the Dallas Stars beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 Tuesday night.

"The first one was a little tough here," he said, referring to a 4-2 loss to his former teammates on Nov. 1. "I had a lot of other stuff going on outside of the game. I had a lot of people to see and there were a lot of memories. This time it was strictly business."

The shutout was the fourth of the season for Tugnutt, who had 23 saves in a 3-0 victory Sunday over San Jose. Tugnutt, filling in for injured starter Marty Turco, ran his scoreless streak to 122 minutes, 57 seconds with his 25th career shutout.

"I think this was a good one for him," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "We played very well with the puck tonight. We did a lot of little things, supported the puck well and I don't think we gave them too much."

Ulf Dahlen and Steve Ott scored for the Stars, who have won four of five.

The Stars have 95 points, one fewer than Ottawa in the race for the NHL's best mark. The Senators beat Boston 4-3 in overtime Tuesday to hold their lead.

Tugnutt was one of the most popular players in the Blue Jackets' first two seasons, receiving six write-in votes in Franklin County in the 2000 presidential election. He was traded to Dallas last summer for a first-round pick in last year's draft. Several fans held up signs supporting Tugnutt.

After the final horn sounded, Tugnutt raised his arms in celebration.

"I felt there was some unfinished business," Tugnutt said. "I came in and didn't perform well the last time here. I didn't want to leave whatever friends I have left here with that impression. I wanted to have a good game today."

Dahlen opened the scoring with his 14th goal at 9:20 of the first period. Jason Arnott's slap shot from just inside the blue line went off the skate of Columbus' Tyler Wright and bounced to Dahlen's stick at the left corner of the crease.

Ott made it 2-0 at 6:34 of the second, taking a pass from Kirk Muller and coasting in on Blue Jackets goalie Marc Denis. Muller deked Denis to the ice, then backhanded the puck between Denis' left skate and the corner post.

"Tip's been giving me every opportunity to prove myself," said Ott, who has points in five of six games. "Lately I've been competent out there in putting up some points. I'm just trying to play hard and get a spot on this team."

The Blue Jackets had almost two minutes of a five-on-three advantage in the second period, but didn't muster a strong threat.

"When your No. 1 goaltender goes down, it's like a security blanket," Tippett said of Tugnutt. "He's been up and down a little bit with consistency, but he seems to be in a groove right now and it's at a good time for us."

Early in the third period, rookie Rick Nash whiffed on a point-blank shot before Tugnutt could slide to his side of the crease. Tugnutt also twice stopped David Vyborny _ who had two goals Monday night in Columbus' 6-5 loss at Carolina -- on prime scoring chances. Tugnutt's kick saved denied Vyborny on a wrist shot with 4:30 left.

"Tugnutt made five or six big saves that kept it from being 1-1 or 2-1," said Columbus interim coach Doug MacLean. "I'm not sure he saw all of them, but they hit him. He looked sharp. I just wish it would have happened against somebody else."

Playing their first game with the Stars were center Stu Barnes and defenseman Lyle Odelein. Barnes was acquired Monday from Buffalo for Mike Ryan and a 2003 draft pick, with Odelein acquired from Chicago for Sami Helenius and a future pick the same day.

Game notes
The Stars opened a three-game road trip, the Blue Jackets began a three-game homestand. ... Columbus is 17-12-4-2 at home, 7-23-3-1 on the road. ... Dallas is 10-2 against the Blue Jackets.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press