The Columbus Blue Jackets (22-15-3) hit the road tonight to face the Dallas Stars (22-15-3) at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 8:30 PM ET.
Although Tuesday’s game between the Jackets and Stars features two teams with identical records, the Stars, on paper, appear to be the better team. Dallas is 12th and 10th in goals scored and goals allowed, respectively, while the CBJ are 20th and 10th. Special teams are a similar story: the Stars have the 11th-ranked power-play unit in the National Hockey League and the 12th-ranked penalty kill, while the Jackets are 31st on the PP and 17th on the PK in the NHL.
The reason for the discrepancy could be the rough stretch the Jackets have gone through recently. They’ve lost their last three games and are just 2-5-2 in their last nine.
The Stars, on the other hand, have won four of their last five contests and are in the midst of a six-game home stand. While the CBJ lost 5-0 on New Year’s Eve to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Stars beat the San Jose Sharks by a score of 6-0.
In net for the Stars in each of their last seven games has been Ben Bishop. In eight career games against the Blue Jackets, he’s 5-3-0 with an impressive 1.81 goals-allowed average and .939 save percentage.
Sergei Bobrovsky, who will be between the pipes for the Jackets, will be looking to get his game back on track after getting some rest on Sunday. Although he’s lost six of his last eight starts and allowed 30 goals during that same span, his career numbers versus Dallas are encouraging: he’s 9-1-1 in 11 games with a 1.88 GAA and .944 SV%.
After Sunday’s game, CBJ captain Nick Foligno was optimistic about the possibility of his team getting back to their winning ways:
Sometimes getting on the road helps you…You surround yourself in a different environment…You have to tighten up and play smart and hopefully that’ll help us.
With four of the next five games away from Nationwide Arena for the CBJ, we’ll see if Foligno’s theory on the team rebounding while on the road has some truth to it. It all starts tonight against the Stars.