Blue Jackets-Stars Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 28, 2011
The Columbus Blue Jackets haven't won on the road in regulation all season. Their chances of breaking through in their next game probably aren't too good with the Dallas Stars' No. 1 goalie set to return. Kari Lehtonen is expected to make his first start in more than a month for the Stars on Thursday night when they look to improve to 3-0 this season against the league's worst team. Lehtonen has been out since Nov. 26 with a groin injury. Dallas (20-14-1) has watched its goalies go 7-5-0 with a 3.08 goals-against average since losing Lehtonen, who is 13-4-1 with a 2.34 GAA. The Stars are expected to waive veteran Andrew Raycroft to make room for Lehtonen. Richard Bachman started the last eight games. "He's skated the last few days and he's very close," coach Glen Gulutzan said of Lehtonen. "I wouldn't be surprised to see him against Columbus." Lehtonen started both games when Dallas swept a home-and-home set with the Blue Jackets in October, allowing two goals in each. His career 1.56 GAA against them is his lowest versus any opponent he's faced more than once. Columbus (9-22-5) is 3-12-2 on the road, with two wins coming in shootouts and the other in overtime. The Stars will have to avoid the temptation of looking past the Blue Jackets in the opener of a three-game homestand that includes visits by powerhouses Detroit and Boston. Dallas lost for the third time in five games Monday, 5-3 at St. Louis. The Stars' penalty-killing unit struggled again, allowing two goals for the fourth straight game. "We've been giving up far too many goals on the PK lately and we've been winning, so it hasn't really been too glaring," left wing Eric Nystrom told the Stars' official website. "It's just small details, the little things that make a big difference in the game." Mike Ribeiro has enjoyed a strong month with 12 points in 11 games. Ribeiro was not as productive early in the season, although his best effort came when he had three assists in a 4-2 home win over Columbus on Oct. 15. "Obviously, it was a bit of a slow start, not a slow start but I didn't feel as good on the ice," Ribeiro said. "Actually, the first 20 games, I didn't feel that good. Lately, I've been feeling better, skating better, playing smarter." The Stars could see their penalty kill improve against a Columbus team that is among the worst in the league on the power play at 15.0 percent. Dallas is only at 14.7 percent with the man advantage, but the Blue Jackets own one of the worst penalty-kill units at 74.6 percent. Columbus' latest losing streak reached six after Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to Calgary. Derick Brassard had the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, whose previous five defeats came in regulation. "I told the players afterward that they went out and played for each other," coach Scott Arniel said. "They played hard for each other. They did the little things together. You could tell on the bench there was a lot of energy." Steve Mason is expected to start in goal for Columbus. He's 0-8-0 with a 4.80 GAA on the road this season.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Aldon Smith posts video under a psuedonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris

Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros


Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Rex Ryan: IK Enempkali could fill void left by Mario Williams

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

10 NFL players set to become household names in 2016

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker