Dallas Stars (13-12-3, 29 pts) @ Colorado Avalanche (10-14-4, 24 pts)
8:30 PM CT
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
The Avs – 15th in the West
Goals – 21st, Goals Against – 27th, Power Play – 25th, Penalty Kill – 22nd
Back in the first week of March, the Avs did the impossible and took down the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation time. They followed that up with an OT win over the San Jose Sharks, but it’s been all downhill from there.
Those two wins are the only two that Colorado has this month in nine games. The Avs have lost their last four games and given up a combined 20 goals in those losses.
Semyon Varlamov has had the wheels shot off his wagon and taken the loss in each of those four games. Things just aren’t going too well for the Avs defensively these days.
Offensively, it’s a different story. Colorado has been able to score goals in bunches and has done enough for the win on that side of the ice.
Matt Duchene leads the team in all offensive categories (12 goals, 19 assists, 31 points) and has been a Stars killer in the past few years. He’s riding a three game points streak and has a point in six of the last seven. Dallas held him pointless in the first meeting.
Another guy on a hot streak right now is Gabriel Landeskog. The young captain has had a really poor season but has shown some spark lately with points in four of the last five games to double his season total to 10. He’s scored in three straight, which is worrisome for Dallas.
A couple of other guys to mention, P.A Parenteau is tied for the team lead in goals with Duchene and has 11 points this month.
Ryan O’Reilly held out for a long time but he’s back and producing again with six points in nine games. He wasn’t around for the first meeting and will be a big boost for the Avs.
Varlamov should be starting tonight. Colorado is really healthy. Only Steve Downie and Ryan Wilson are out tonight.
Possible line combos:
Landeskog – Duchene – Parenteau
Jones – Stastny – Hejduk
McGinn – O’Reilly – Kobasew
McLeod – Mitchell – Palushaj
Johnson – Hejda
O’Brien – Elliott
Hunwick – O’Byrne
Dallas – 11th in the West
Goals – 18th, Goals Against – 23rd, Power Play – 17th, Penalty Kill – 14th
I’ve pretty much given up trying to figure out this Stars team now. They can look great one day and like absolute crap on another day, and you never know which one is showing up.
Dallas had both sides show up in a 4-3 win over the Flames on Monday. They looked great in the first period to take a 3-0 lead and then looked horrible giving two back in the second.
Against an Avs team that can score goals, they’ll need to be a lot better tonight on defense. The focus has to be there.
Loui Eriksson finally got the monkey off his back with two huge goals. They were only his eighth and ninth goals on the year and Dallas needs a lot more from him if they want to make the playoffs. Despite all his troubles, he leads the team in points.
In goalie related news. Jack Campbell was called up and should start one of these two back-to-back games. I would expect tonight, but who knows.
The Stars will be without Ryan Garbutt (hand) and Aaron Rome (foot).
The lines have been so jumbled lately, who knows what they’ll be.
Possible line combos:
Eriksson – Benn – Jagr
Whitney – Roy – Smith
Cole – Eakin – Vincour
Nystrom – Fiddler – Roussel
Dillon – Robidas
Benn – Daley
Goligoski – Oleksiak