The Dallas Stars had been red hot recently, reeling off a 9-2-1 string to skate into the Western Conference wild-card chase.
They left the American Airlines Center ice a few degrees cooler Tuesday night after a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are now 12-2-1 in their past 15 games.
Columbus scored the first three goals of the game, but the Stars rallied to pull within 3-2 on Antoine Roussel’s goal 13 minutes into the second period, eight minutes after Ales Hemsky put Dallas on the board.
But Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky clamped down in crunch time, making 11 of his 24 saves in the third period to blank the Stars over the final 20 minutes.
Mark Letestu sealed the victory by scoring on a two-on-one break with 2:58 remaining in his return after missing 28 games because of a groin/abdominal injury.
Jamie Oleksiak and Ryan Garbutt assisted on the goals for the Stars, who outshot Columbus 26-20. Anders Lindback had 16 saves in only his fifth start for Dallas.
Columbus’ Nick Foligno had three assists, and Scott Hartnell added two. Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist, and James Wisniewski and Kevin Connauton also scored goals for the Blue Jackets, who have won their last four games in Dallas.
Wisniewski scored his fourth goal at 5:21 of the first period when his shot from the slot deflected off Hemsky’s stick and Lindback’s left leg.
Johansen added a power-play goal at 7:26. He took a pass from Hartnell into the right faceoff circle. When Lindback went low, Johansen lifted the puck over him and into the net.
The Stars outshot the Blue Jackets 9-6 in the first period but couldn’t score, even with two power plays.
Connauton sent a shot from the blue line past Lindback at 3:57 of the second.
Dallas then rallied to get back in the game. Jason Spezza skated past the goalmouth to screen Bobrovsky on Hemsky’s goal at 5:28, and Roussel tipped in a shot by Garbutt at 13:14.
The Stars’ Tyler Seguin, the NHL’s leading scorer, was shut out.