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Blue Jackets 3, Stars 1

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets clinched a playoff spot for the second time in franchise history after getting three first-period goals and a 33-save performance from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.

This game was rescheduled from March 10 after Stars center Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench early in the first period with a cardiac event. Peverley was transported to a hallway near the bench, where he was resuscitated and taken to a local hospital.

The game was later suspended and rescheduled, but the power-play goal scored by Columbus right wing Nathan Horton prior to Peverley's collapse counted, so the Blue Jackets started the game on Wednesday ahead 1-0 before the puck dropped.

Columbus (42-31-7, 91 points), which last made the playoffs in 2009, wasted little time in adding to that lead when center Artem Anisimov collected a free puck in the Dallas zone and skated around Stars goalie Tim Thomas for his 22nd goal of the season 1:33 into the game.

After Stars rookie defenseman Patrik Nemeth and Blue Jackets right wing Jack Skille were battling for the puck in the right corner, Dallas center Tyler Seguin tried to clear the puck, but it took a weird deflection off the glass and landed at Anisimov's skates.

Anisimov collected the puck on the edge of the right circle, skated around the front of the Dallas goal, and, with Thomas committed at the near post, Anisimov was able to outmaneuver the Stars netminder and slip the puck into the far side of the Dallas net to make it 2-0.

The visitors caught another break at 9:43 of the first when Stars center Shawn Horcoff earned a double-minor after his high stick on Columbus right wing Jared Boll drew blood.

Dallas (39-30-11, 89 points), which remains two points ahead of the idle Phoenix Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, nearly killed off the four-minute power play. But Columbus center Mark Letestu made it 3-0 with 16 seconds left on the man advantage at 13:27 with a shot that deflected in off Thomas' pads. Letestu's shot to the right of the Dallas goal deflected off Thomas' right pad before crossing the line through the five-hole.

The Stars started the second and third periods on the power play after penalties late in the previous frame but failed to convert on both occasions.

Dallas scored at 8:39 of the third when defenseman Trevor Daley scored a power-play goal to make it 3-1. The Stars had the extra attacker after Thomas left the ice at 7:15. Daley tapped in a rebound at the far post after a shot by Stars left wing and captain Jamie Benn found the left post.

Thomas stopped 22 shots for Dallas before leaving the ice with 2:42 remaining in regulation. Bobrovsky made several saves late, including one at close range on Seguin with 1:25 remaining, but the Stars were unable to find a second or third goal.

NOTES: Blue Jackets D Tim Erixon, LW Nick Foligno (lower body), RW Matt Frattin, RW Nathan Horton (lower body), D Nikita Nikitin (lower body), D Dalton Prout and C R.J. Umberger (upper body) were scratched. ... Stars D Kevin Connauton, C Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat), D Aaron Rome and LW Ray Whitney (lower body) were scratched. ... Blue Jackets C Mark Letestu has a goal in three consecutive games after scoring on a power play in the first period. ... Stars G Tim Thomas made his first start since March 20 at Philadelphia, ending a streak of 10 consecutive starts by G Kari Lehtonen. ... Blue Jackets C Artem Anisimov scored his third goal in two games against Dallas this season early in the first period, his 22nd goal of season. ... Dallas failed to score in the first two periods for the first time in 17 games. ... The announced attendance was 16,125.
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