COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Dallas coach Dave Tippett is concerned about his team's emotions.
Even though the Stars are 10-3-1 in their last 14, they have lost two straight and there was a lack of effort late.
"We have to get emotionally engaged in the game," Tippett said. "We think we are just going to finish off the year here and start the playoffs. We will find players to get emotionally engaged in the game because that's the only chance we have in the playoffs."
Then Nash stepped off the right half boards, shrugged off defenseman Mattias Norstrom and beat Smith from the slot for his 26th goal to snap the Blue Jackets' four-game losing streak.
"Lucky enough at the end we just kind of outchanced them and had the extra goal," Nash said.
Stu Barnes scored for the Stars, who were spirited out of the gate and dominated early.
Barnes made it 1-0 at 6:50 of the first period with his 13th goal. He snapped home a rebound off the leg pad of goalie Fredrik Norrena from the low slot.
However, Barnes wasn't too upbeat after the game.
"The last couple of games haven't really been the complete games we wanted," he said. "We knew both teams were going to be hardworking teams that were going to play hard, and we came up short."
Mike Ribeiro picked up an assist on the play to earn his 11th point in the last six games.
The game began to have the feel and pace of a meaningless preseason contest in the second period. The Stars failed to register a shot the period's first 11 minutes, which included three power plays, one abbreviated.
On Dallas' next power play and second shot of the period, Norrena gloved Sergei Zubov's slap shot blast from the point with about 6 minutes left.
"He was sound again," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said of Norrena. "He's done more than hold the fort for us so we're pretty proud of him."
Two minutes later, with Columbus on the power play, Smith smothered Fredrick Modin's open shot from the inside left circle.
Dallas finished 0-for-5 on the power play during the period.
The third period was much more competitive as the Blue Jackets began to press.
Columbus thought they tied it with just over 12 minutes remaining in the third, but, after a video review, the officials ruled that Jason Chimera's shot did not cross the goal line while under Smith.
Columbus outshot Dallas 13-5 during the period.
"We turned up the volume a little bit in the third period," said Chimera, who assisted on Malhotra's goal. "We wanted to have a winning record against one of the best teams in the West."
- Dallas concluded their road schedule and finished one win shy of the second-best franchise mark of 23.
- The Blue Jackets are 1-5-1 at home against Dallas since November 2002.
- The Stars have killed 19 consecutive short-handed situations.
- During the game, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation announced the donation of a record-high total of $292,500 in grants and a season-long contribution of more than $5,000 in autographed merchandise to several local nonprofit organizations.