NHL odds: Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars

It’s a huge game for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot Thursday night when Columbus visits Dallas, with the Stars opening at -130 on WagerWeb.com. The Jackets hold down the final spot with 51 points entering Wednesday, while the Stars have 48. Check our current lines.

Dallas has lost three straight and had crushing 3-2 defeat at San Jose on Tuesday. Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored goals 30 seconds apart late in the third period to help the Sharks clinch the playoffs with a come-from-behind victory. Antoine Roussel and Loui Eriksson scored for the Stars, whose playoff hopes were dealt a serious blow. Stars goalie Lehtonen made 34 saves but had no chance on Couture’s game winner with 5:07 remaining. Stars F Alex Chiasson, who scored three goals in two wins over San Jose earlier this month, sat out with a shoulder injury.

Columbus has been off since winning 4-3 at San Jose on Sunday. Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:37 remaining after a turnover by Joe Pavelski, and the Blue Jackets overcame a blown two-goal lead in the third period. Mark Letestu scored twice and Vinny Prospal also scored for the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for the Blue Jackets, who won for the sixth time in seven games as they try for the second playoff berth in franchise history. Columbus C Artem Anisimov (concussion), F Matt Calvert (broken finger) and D Nikita Nikitin (lower body) sat out with injuries.

Veteran left winger Marian Gaborik, acquired in a blockbuster trade from the New York Rangers three weeks ago, has three goals and four assists in 10 games with the . The Blue Jackets are 7-3 with Gaborik in the lineup.

“What I see,” coach Todd Richards said, “is a player who is engaged.” Forward Vinny Prospal added: “He’s a huge part in the way other teams have to respect his ability to score, and it opens up a lot of holes for other players,” Prospal said. “He knows we’re a hard-working team and we don’t necessarily score a lot of goals. He also knows in our system, we don’t give up a lot, either. He understands all of this and how he fits into it.”

The Stars must win this game and their finale against Detroit and get help to make the playoffs. They could be eliminated Thursday. Columbus, which has won six of eight on the road, will likely put Bobrovsky in net for the 12th straight game. He’s 16-5-3 with a 1.65 goals-against average since a February loss to Dallas.

Dallas and Columbus have split two one-goal games this year, both in Columbus. They haven’t played since Feb. 26.

WagerWeb.com trends: Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Dallas. Under is 18-7-1 in the last 26 meetings. Blue Jackets are 7-15 in the last 22 meetings in Dallas. Blue Jackets are 2-5 in the last 7 meetings. Road team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.


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