Originally written on Stars of Big D  |  Last updated 4/23/12

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Goaltender Kari Lehtonen #32 of the Atlanta Thrashers takes a drink during a break in NHL game action against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on February 15, 2009 in Anaheim, California. The Thrashers defeated the Ducks 8-4. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Dallas Stars @ Columbus Blue Jackets

6:00 PM - October 18, 2011

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

5 games into the season, the Dallas Stars might finally be rounding into form. The final game of their three-game homestand, a 4-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, was perhaps their most complete game as a team.

Dallas absolutely dominated the Blue Jackets and did not have to rely on Kari Lehtonen to pull their bacon out of the fire again. They controlled the puck, they hit, count down on passing lanes, scored on the power-play and generally just took over the game from start to finish, even if they did allow the first goal of the game.

Columbus had only 15 shots in the game and the most they had was six shots in the 2nd period. This is a Stars team that had allowed more than 30 shots in their first 4 games of the season, including at least 38 shots in each of Kari Lehtonen's three starts.

It was practically a day off for Kari. The two goals that he allowed in that game were the largely due to defensive miscues as the Blue Jacket forwards were wide open.

The Stars (4-1-0, 8 points) and the Blue Jackets (0-4-1, 1 point) play the second part of their home-and-home series tonight, this time in Columbus. Tonight is also the start of a four game road trip for the Stars, with the rest of the games against Pacific Division rivals.

The Ryder-Ribeiro-Morrow line finally clicked as Morrow and Ryder both had a goal and an assist. Ribeiro was back to his fancy self and made some great passes the led to his three assists. For one game at least, he looked like the Ribeiro that the Stars were hoping would show up this year.  Sheldon Souray continued to bomb shots from the blue line and ended up with another goal. Whatever the reason, Dallas finally looked like a team that deserved its 4-1-0 record. If they can play like that again tonight, it will be an easy road over to 5-1-0.

Notes:

  • Columbus will be without Jeff Carter, their top center, due to a fractured foot.
  • Adam Pardy made his Stars debut during the last game and was pretty solid. He had 16:42 minutes of ice time and while he didn't record anything on the stat sheet, he helped stabilize the defensive pairings.
  • Steve Ott continues to lead the NHL in hits. He had four more in the home game against the Blue Jackets and is tops in the NHL by five.
  • Dallas also started last season 4-1-0. They played well until injuries just ravaged the team after the New Year.
  • Dallas has a power-play goal in two straight games now. Meanwhile, Columbus scored their first power-play goal of the season.
  • Eric Nystrom should make his Stars debut in tonight's game. He'll be playing on the fourth line.
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