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Stars aim to get right against hapless Blue Jackets

While the Columbus Blue Jackets are playing for pride, the Dallas Stars have stumbled as of late in their chase of a postseason spot.

The Stars hope to break out of their scoring slump and get back on the winning track this evening against the hosting Blue Jackets.

Dallas currently sits 12th overall in the Western Conference with 56 points, two back of Phoenix and Minnesota for the eighth spot. The Coyotes leapt past the Stars in the standings by notching a 4-1 victory over them on Tuesday.

Michael Ryder had the lone goal for Dallas, which was unable to carry momentum from a 2-1 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and lost for the seventh time in 10 games. The Stars have been held to a pair of goals or less in all but one of those contests.

Kari Lehtonen was tagged for all four goals on 24 shots in defeat, ending his personal three-game win streak in which he had allowed just three goals.

"Awful, atrocious," Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray said of his team's performance. "We've gotten by on a really good goaltender in the last three or four games and it's not good enough. We can talk about it and try to figure it out and point fingers, but really as a whole we've really been letting each other down these last three or four games, especially with how important this stretch of games is and what it means."

The Blue Jackets did prevent the Stars from falling further behind in their playoff chase after notching a 3-1 win over the Wild. It marked only the second time this season that Columbus has won two games in a row, having first done so back on Nov. 19-21.

Columbus hasn't won three straight since Feb. 18-25 of last year.

"Obviously we'd like to have more [winning streaks], but I think lately that our game has kind of been coming around. Guys are battling hard and we're getting rewarded," said Blue Jackets forward Jeff Carter.

Carter missed 10 straight games with a separated shoulder, but returned to action last Friday and scored a goal in a 3-2 overtime win at Anaheim. He then made it two straight contests with a goal on Tuesday, while David Savard scored the first of his career and added an assist.

Antoine Vermette lit the lamp as well and Curtis Sanford made 28 saves for a Blue Jackets club that sits last in the NHL with 36 points and had lost six straight prior to consecutive wins.

"I thought we played a heck of a first period, probably one of our best," Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards said. "They came out and were better in the second, but we were really happy with the way we finished the game."

Forward Vinny Prospal added an assist, his team-leading 24th of the season, and has points in three straight after going nine in a row without one. The 36-year-old is second on the team with 33 points and signed a one-year extension with the Jackets on Wednesday.

The Blue Jackets had lost four of five, including the first two of four encounters this year, versus the Stars before picking up a 4-1 road win on Dec. 29. Rick Nash scored a pair of goals for Columbus.

Dallas has won two straight and six of its past nine at Columbus.