Lehtonen, Ott lead Stars over Blue Jackets
DALLAS – Kari Lehtonen made 23 saves for his 17th career shutout, Steve Ott scored his second goal in 25 games on the power play, and the Dallas Stars pulled closer to the final Western Conference playoff spot with a 3-0 victory over the short-handed Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
Loui Eriksson and Brenden Morrow had empty-netters in the final 53 seconds to secure the win for Dallas, which improved to 91 points, tied with idle Calgary for the No. 9 seed in the conference. The Stars and Flames are two points behind Chicago and Anaheim, tied at No. 7.
The Blackhawks got a point when they lost 2-1 in overtime at Montreal earlier Tuesday night. Anaheim and Calgary did not play. Dallas, Chicago and Anaheim all have three games left, and Calgary has two remaining.
The Stars have a home-and-home against Colorado on Thursday and Friday, and Sunday's season finale at Minnesota.
Ott's deflection of Brad Richards' shot from center point gave the Stars the lead at 5:00 of the opening period.
The Blue Jackets are 3-10-7 over their last 20 games to fall out of playoff contention.
Columbus was coming off Sunday's 6-1 home loss to St. Louis, but the Jackets turned in a more determined effort against the Stars.
The Blue Jackets are without their captain and top scorer, right wing Rick Nash (lower body injury), as well as goaltender Steve Mason (lower body injury), defenseman Jan Hejda (suspension), left wing Ethan Moreau (foot) and right wing Chris Clark (lower body).
Columbus goalie Mathieu Garon came up with his best save of the night when he denied Morrow from close range with 16:52 remaining.
The Blue Jackets thought they'd tied it at 1 with 4:43 left, but Derek Dorsett's goal was immediately waved off when Dorsett was penalized for goalie interference after crashing into Lehtonen in the crease.