The Dallas Stars’ playoff hopes came to an end with a 2-1 loss at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night.
Jamie Benn scored his goal 12th goal of the season and Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves, but the Stars couldn’t mount a comeback in time. They have now missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons.
Columbus jumped on the scoreboard early. Just 19 seconds into the game Brandon Dubinsky skated into the Stars’ zone along the left wing boards. He took a shot on net that bounced high off Lehtonen into the slot. Blake Comeau’s shot was blocked as well, but Lehtonen thought he had the puck. It trickled to his right and Cam Atkinson was alone in position to bury the puck for his seventh goal of the season.
Benn tied the game 8:43 into the second period on the power play when he tapped the puck in off a broken play. Erik Cole made a centering feed for Loui Eriksson that bounced off Atkinson’s stick and toward the Columbus net. Benn was standing to Bobrovsky’s right and scored before the goalie could get in position for the save.
Mark Letestu’s power play goal 7:56 into the third period gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead. He took a slap shot off a faceoff win that deflected off Eric Nystrom’s stick and over Lehtonen.
Atkinson scored his second goal of the game in very similar fashion to his first. Lehtonen thought he had smothered a Jack Johnson slap shot, but it fell to his right. Again, Atkinson was left alone to the right of the net and put the puck in with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
Although Dallas is eliminated from playoff contention, they have a chance to play the role of spoilers and eliminate the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night.