DALLAS – The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t back down in a fight-filled first period, using a pair of special-teams goals to maintain the best start in franchise history.
Rick Nash scored on a power play, and Kristian Huselius added a short-handed goal in the final second of an opening period that included 57 penalty minutes, sending the Blue Jackets to a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
“They tried to intimidate us and our guys came right back,” said Columbus goalie Steve Mason, who stopped 24 shots. “It set the tone for the night. When a game starts like that you know it’s going to be a tough game.”
Huselius and Raffi Torres added goals during a five-minute power play in the second period, and the Blue Jackets went on to win their third straight and improve to 6-1-1 in their last eight games.
Fedor Tyutin had two assists for Columbus in a rare victory over Dallas goalie Marty Turco, 14-2-2 against Columbus.
“I really liked our competitiveness all game,” said Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, who led the Stars to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup in 1999. “We haven’t had a lot of success here.”
Mike Modano scored his 546th career goal on a one-timer at 15:35 of the second period as the Stars avoided the shutout.
The Stars had a 3-1 road win over Detroit on Wednesday night, but Dallas was unable to follow up at home a day later and is still seeking its first two-game winning streak in regulation this season.
“It’s unfortunate, playing such a good game in Detroit, to come back and have that effort,” Modano said.
Nash gave Columbus the lead at 8:30 of the opening period, shooting a loose puck in the crease past Turco while Dallas’ James Neal was serving a hooking penalty.
Trevor Daley of the Stars and Derek Dorsett of the Blue Jackets got into the first of four first-period scraps at 14:26. Only 23 seconds later, Dallas’ Steve Ott and Columbus’ Jason Chimera traded punches. Krys Barch of Dallas and Jared Boll of Columbus tangled late in the period, followed by Nash and Robidas.
Both goalies were called for leaving the crease during the Nash-Robidas bout at 18:17.
Huselius took possession on a turnover during a Dallas power play, skating into the Stars zone on an odd-man rush and firing a shot from the high slot that beat Turco with 0.3 seconds left in the first period.
Neal was assessed a major for boarding and a game misconduct at 6:59 of the second period after a hit on Dorsett, who was dazed after striking his head on the boards. Dorsett spent the rest of the game in the locker room and his condition will be evaluated within the next two days.
Huselius capitalized on the five-minute man-advantage at 10:23 of the period, and 20 seconds later Torres made it 4-0.
“That five minutes hurt,” Modano said. “That sealed the deal.”
Neal, who could face a league suspension after a hearing with NHL officials on Friday, said he wasn’t trying to injure Dorsett.
“I was just going fast,” Neal said of plowing into Dorsett along the boards. “I didn’t have any intent to injure him or hit him in a vulnerable position. I hope he’s OK over there.”
NOTES: Columbus activated Torres off IR earlier Thursday. Torres is recovering from a fractured upper jaw and is wearing a shield to protect the jaw. … Mason was coming off the worst outing of his career, allowing eight goals in a 9-1 loss to Detroit on Nov. 11. … Columbus C Sammy Palhsson was out with back spasms. … The Blue Jackets were playing their first game since rookie LW Nikita Filatov left the team to return to Russia, where he’ll play for CSKA Moscow of the Continental Hockey League. Filatov, the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft, had two goals in 13 games for Columbus this season, but the 19-year-old was frustrated with a lack of ice time and wanted to go home. Filatov has promised teammates that he’ll return to the Blue Jackets next season. … Dallas placed LW Fabian Brunnstrom on IR with a shoulder injury, retroactive to Nov. 7, and recalled rookie C Warren Peters from the Texas Stars, Dallas’ AHL affiliate. Peters was among Dallas’ scratches.