COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets knew to be successful this season they needed scoring production from their younger players and strong goaltending.
On Wednesday night, they got both.
Sonny Milano and Alexander Wennberg each scored for the first time this season to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Dallas Stars 3-2.
Columbus (3-3-0) won back-to-back games and pulled to .500 with its eighth consecutive victory over the Stars (1-6-1). Joonis Korpisalo turned away 30 shots to net his third win.
Ben Bishop made 32 saves for Dallas, who have lost four straight.
Zach Werenski got the scoring started at 7:42 of the first, while Wennberg made it 2-0 at 15:01.
Miro Heiskanen cut the lead to 2-1, scoring his second goal of the year for the Stars on a delayed penalty.
Milano gave Columbus insurance at 9:07 of the third with a highlight-reel goal, skating between two defenders and shooting from between his legs to go top shelf over Bishop. Jakob Lilja recorded his first NHL point with the primary assist.
“It was the best angle to get on net, and it went in,” Milano said. “I was thinking maybe to backhand it, but it went through the legs.”
Columbus coach John Tortorella called the goal “ridiculous.”
“He made a great move to enter the zone, beats a forward at the blue line and there were still two checkers coming on him,” Tortorella said. “It’s a hell of a goal.”
Joe Pavelski scored with 4.5 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late.
The Stars, who have been hindered by poor starts, came out strong, outshooting the Blue Jackets 17-11 in the first. Columbus had a 9-6 shot advantage through a scoreless second period and continued to dominate in the third.
“I thought we had an excellent first period,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. “I thought we were skating. I didn’t love our puck management in the second. I thought in the third we were working, trying to tie it up. We gave up too many odd-man rushes. We didn’t do it together enough. There were a lot of positives to build off of.”
“As frustrated as we are, there is still 90% of the season left,” Bishop said. “There is still time to fix this ship, but it needs to be more urgency from everybody. We have to find.a way to get the W. No matter what it is.”
Forward Corey Perry returned to the Stars after recovering from a broken foot. … Werenski’s 40 career goals put him one away from tying Rostislav Klesla for the all-time Columbus record among defensemen. … Longtime Blue Jackets announce Bill Davidge took a break from his Florida retirement to watch his old club, this time from the stands.
Stars: visit Pittsburgh on Friday.
Blue Jackets: visit Chicago on Friday.