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Stars jump on Jackets early, hold on

Jamie Benn opened and closed the scoring, netter in the final second, as Dallas downed Columbus, 4-2.

Stephane Robidas' goal was the final of three in the first 21-plus minutes, and Alex Goligoski also lit the lamp in the victory. The Stars won for the second time in three games overall and their third straight at Columbus. Kari Lehtonen surrendered a pair of power-play goals on 28 shots in the win.

"I think our work ethic was a lot better tonight," surmised Goligoski.

Curtis Sanford was roughed up early, but held the Stars scoreless after the early minutes of the second period, stopping 31-of-34 shots overall. Vinny Prospal and Rick Nash scored for the Blue Jackets, who were trying to win three straight for the first time since last February.

"I liked the way we battled back," said Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards. "The problem was we weren't ready from the start."

Dallas wasted little time taking to the offensive, scoring two goals before many fans could find their seats. Steve Ott, stationed along the left boards, sent a pass in front that sailed across ice to Robidas, who floated a shot on net that fell in-between several skaters at the front of the net. Benn collected himself and the puck before firing a wrister past the goaltender just 1:35 into the contest. Then a wild scrum in front of the net and a fortuitous bounce of the puck led to another tally.

A straight-on slap shot by Tomas Vincour deflected off a Columbus defender's face, leaving him down on the ice and the puck in front of the net. Goligoski was in the right place at the right time, lunging with his stick to poke in the rebound at 4:21.

Early in the second period and just four seconds after a power play expired, Dallas increased its lead. Robidas lined up and launched a slap shot from out by the blue line. The rocket got by Sanford with the help of Loui Eriksson, who didn't deflect the puck but screened the goaltender by standing in front of the net in the direct line of the shot.

Columbus was down but not out, taking advantage of the power play to cut into its deficit. First, Prospal, sliding down the seam, deflected in Fedor Tyutin's centering feed with a backhand up high and past Lehtonen at 8:32. Nash was then the benefactor of picture-perfect passing several minutes later on the man-advantage.

Tyutin and Derick Brassard stretched the defense with back-and-forth feeds, and it was Brassard who fit the puck between a crowd of defenders across ice and on the back side to a streaking Nash, who deposited it in an empty net for his 18th tally of the season.

Lehtonen stopped seven shots in the third to maintain the lead and Benn scored on an empty-netter with less than a second remaining.

Game Notes

Prospal snapped a 13-game scoreless streak and extended his point streak to four games. He signed a one-year contract extension on Wednesday...Lehtonen atoned for a 4-1 loss to Columbus on December 29...Benn scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season...Dallas travels to Buffalo to play the Sabres on Friday night, while Columbus breaks up an extended home stretch with a game at Minnesota on Saturday. The Blue Jackets downed the Wild, 3-1, on Tuesday.