The Dallas Stars hope the return of Jamie Benn can help them halt a two-game slide, as they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets for Monday's meeting at Nationwide Arena.
Benn missed the start of this season while locked in a contract dispute with the Stars, but the two sides agreed to a five-year, $26.25 million contract on Thursday.
The deal was done in time for Benn to play in Saturday's game against St. Louis, but the forward was unable to participate due to issues with a work visa. The paperwork was finally completed on Monday, meaning Benn is a go for the game in Columbus.
Benn tied for second on the Stars with 63 points in 2011-12.
The Stars are 2-2-1 on the season, but have dropped consecutive games heading into this tilt in Ohio. The good news for Dallas is the Blue Jackets are 1-3-1 on the season and have lost four straight since a season-opening win in Nashville.
Dallas has also fared well in recent meetings with the Blue Jackets, winning four of the last five overall encounters between the clubs and three straight at Nationwide Arena.
The Stars were on the losing side of a 4-3 decision Saturday against the visiting Blues. David Perron registered two goals for St. Louis, including the game-winner late in the second period.
Michael Ryder, Tomas Vincour and Ryan Garbutt scored for a short-handed Dallas club that was playing without Jaromir Jagr (back) and Derek Roy (groin). Jagr is expected to return on Monday, while Roy is questionable.
Meanwhile, Cristopher Nilstorp, who was making his second NHL start, left in the third period with a groin injury after allowing four goals on 29 shots. Regular No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped all three shots he faced in relief.
Richard Bachman has been recalled from the Texas Stars of the AHL to fill in as Lehtonen's backup. Bachman could get the start on Tuesday when Dallas visits Detroit.
Columbus has lost three straight in regulation during its current 0-3-1 stretch and the club was dealt a close loss Saturday against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Kane recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season with two assists, as the Blackhawks posted a 3-2 win at Nationwide Arena.
Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu had the goals for the Blue Jackets, while Steve Mason finished with 21 saves.
"We're disappointed with the loss. We want to stop this skid," Letestu said.
Columbus went 0-for-5 on the power play against the Blackhawks and is just 3- for-23 with the man advantage on the season.