DALLAS (AP) – Kari Lehtonen kept the Dallas Stars in the game until Tyler Seguin took over.
Seguin broke it open with two second-period goals 30 seconds apart, and Dallas beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Lehtonen improved to 11-1-0 by making 34 saves. Sixteen came in the first period and another on a short-handed breakaway in the second. He also notched his third assist of the season on Seguin’s first goal.
“(Lehtonen) was fabulous,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “He was dominant tonight for us. In the first period alone he made four or five. It was a great bounce-back game for him.”
A week earlier, Lehtonen allowed Carolina to come back from a 5-1 deficit with four third-period goals.
“It was kind of a similar situation,” Lehtonen said. “It was nice that we just kept playing and we didn’t give them many chances.”
Dallas took 1-0 and 2-1 leads on goals by defensemen Johnny Oduya and Alex Goligoski before Seguin scored his 16th and 17th at 16:26 and 16:56 of the second period.
“Tyler decided that he was going to dominate the game,” Ruff said. “And those couple shifts were the difference. But let’s start the game like that.”
Seguin’s first goal began with Lehtonen’s short pass to John Klingberg, who sent the puck down to Seguin at the Columbus blue line for a breakaway. He skated in on Joonas Korpisalo, hesitated and then slid the puck under the rookie goalie.
“My glove side was all taken away, so I just tried to make a quick move, and I’m happy it went in,” Seguin said.
Then he passed along a compliment.
“With everyone else sleeping, (Lehtonen) had to be sharp, and he was beyond sharp. He might have been the only player in here that played a full 60-minute effort,” Seguin said.
Dallas (23-6-2) has the NHL’s best record and hasn’t lost two in a row all season. The poor start, however, made Ruff run out of compliments beyond Lehtonen and Seguin.
“I know we won 5-1, but we’ll lose games if we play like that. We’re kind of the team that’s being hunted, and there’s teams that are going to be ready to knock us off,” Ruff said.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets fell to 1-5-3 in their last nine games and held a players-only meeting afterward.
“It’s really none of my business,” coach John Tortorella said. “I’m not sure what went on in there and I won’t ask any questions. That room has to sustain itself a little bit through some of these things. It can’t be me going in there all the time.”
The Blue Jackets went unrewarded after dominating the first period. They outshot the Stars 16-8, which included 14-0 during a span of 10:36. They finally scored when Scott Hartnell redirected a pass into the net on the power play at 4:32 of the second period.
Korpisalo had 23 saves before Curtis McElhinney replaced him for the third period. McElhinney stopped six shots but gave up a goal to rookie Mattias Janmark.
NOTES: The 21-year-old Korpisalo was making his second NHL start – the second in two nights. He earned it by making 27 saves in a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday. Korpisalo was recalled from Lake Erie of the AHL because of a groin injury to No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who has missed three games. … Stars captain Jamie Benn got his 400th career point with an assist on Seguin’s second goal. … Dallas has an NHL-leading 48 points. Columbus has an NHL-low 25 in a league-high 33 games. … The Stars have won seven of their last eight at home. … The Blue Jackets had won four straight in Dallas, dating to Oct. 15, 2011. … Two fights broke out in the final 7 minutes, resulting in 19 minutes in penalties for each team, including misconducts to Columbus’ Dalton Prout and Dallas’ Jason Demers.