While the Dallas Stars are searching for any kind of spark to turn around a historically rough start, facing the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday might not help their cause.
Off to their worst start in nearly three decades, the visiting Stars look to also end their recent struggles against a Blue Jackets team aiming to win back-to-back games for the first time on the young season.
With the offseason additions of established stars Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry, Dallas had high hopes after pushing St. Louis to seven games in last year’s Western Conference semifinals. Instead, it’s been a nightmare beginning for the Stars at 1-5-1 — the franchise’s worst start since the Minnesota North Stars were in the same boat in 1990-91.
Pavelski has recorded just one point, and Perry has yet to play because of a broken foot (but could return this week). Dallas is averaging just 1.9 goals and has lost four games by one goal. Yet the Stars won’t panic this early in the campaign.
“You dig in as a group,” captain Jamie Benn, who has just two points, told the Stars’ official website. “A little adversity never hurt. It seems like it’s magnified with the beginning of the year here. You can kind of get away with stretches like this in the middle of the season, but to have a tough start like this, it sucks.
“But, we’ve got to keep digging in there.”
Dallas must find a way to get back on track after being outscored 8-1 while losing its last two games. It suffered a 4-0 loss at Buffalo on Monday, when Ben Bishop (2.78 goals-against average) stopped just 18 shots.
That might not be easy considering the Stars have been outscored 22-9 during an 0-5-2 slide against Columbus. Dallas is 0-2-2 on the road in the series during that span.
The Blue Jackets have also struggled out of the gate, though not to the level of the Stars. However, John Tortorella’s young club has posted both of its wins over the last three games. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored the tying goal early in the second period, and Pierre-Luc Dubois put Columbus ahead in the third in a 3-2 comeback win at Carolina on Saturday.
“They should feel good about themselves,” Tortorella told the Blue Jackets’ official website. “We had some grind to our game. I think that’s something that’s been missing consistently in our game. It was there most of the night.”
Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (2.75 GAA) made 30 saves for his second win of the season. He’s 1-1-0 with a 2.86 GAA against the Stars.
DuBois, meanwhile, has a goal in two straight games and a point in each of the last three. He recorded a goal in the Blue Jackets’ 2-1 victory at Dallas last season.
Bishop has a 2.82 goals-against average while amid an 0-3-1 starting stretch against the Blue Jackets. Backup Anton Khudobin, who has allowed seven goals while losing his first two starts of the season, is 3-2-1 with a 2.16 GAA versus Columbus.
Benn has a goal and two assists over his last three games against the Blue Jackets.
–Field Level Media