COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — While Artem Anisimov has found another level of play, the Blue Jackets are still trying to find how to keep the pressure on as they chase a playoff spot.
Anisimov scored twice, including a late insurance goal, as Columbus held off a third-period Dallas rally for a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars.
"Right now might be as good as we've seen him play in a Columbus uniform," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said of Anisimov, who has scored five times in the last four games. "Two huge goals for us, especially the last one with the way the game was going."
Columbus dug in for its third straight win to climb into a tie for seventh with the Rangers in the Eastern Conference.
"Bob's (Sergei Bobrovsky) our last line of defense and it's a great last line to have," Richards said. "But as a young team going forward and playing with leads, a 3-0 lead, that's where you want to continue to go after teams."
The Blue Jackets are vying for only their second postseason appearance since joining the league in 2000.
Columbus scored on the first shot of the game and bolted ahead on first-period goals by Boone Jenner, R.J. Umberger and Anisimov against backup Dan Ellis. Ellis was shaky early in making his first appearance since Feb. 1.
"It's not easy," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said of his goalie's long layoff. "I kind of felt for him. The first shot got by him and I think that maybe rattled him a little bit."
At the other end, Bobrovsky finished with 31 saves, one on an open shot by Jamie Benn with 5 minutes left with the Blue Jackets clinging to a one-goal lead. Bobrovsky nimbly tracked loose pucks and shots from near the crease all game to improve to 5-0-1 against Dallas.
Defensemen Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley had goals early in the third period for the Stars. With the loss, Dallas, which had won five of seven, still sits in eighth place in the Western Conference.
Leading 3-0 entering the final period, Columbus seemed in control even though it had been drastically outshot since taking the big lead near the midpoint of the first. But the Stars finally broke through, scoring about two minutes apart.
Goligoski fired home a rebound on the power play from near the crease, his fourth goal and second in as many games after a 48-game drought. Daley followed with his fifth on a redirection from between the circles off a soft point shot by Sergei Gonchar.
Continue reading this story on the...