Dallas Stars (3-5-1, 7 pts) @ Colorado Avalanche (4-4-0, 8 pts)
8:00 PM CT
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
Goals – 20th, Goals Against – 11th, Power Play – 30th, Penalty Kill – 22nd
For Dallas, there might not be a better time to play the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs have been riddled with injuries lately as captain Gabriel Landeskog has a head injury (possibly a concussion) and Steve Downie went down with a year-ending ACL injury. Last season’s point leader Ryan O’Reilly continues to hold out and David Jones has a nagging knee issue (though he could play tonight).
Despite those injuries, the Avs have managed to win their last games and put up some of their highest goal totals of the season. Paul Stastny and P.A Parenteau have raised their games and carried the team in the absence of the other offensive leaders.
Dallas has to especially watch out for Matt Duchene though. He’s been a killer against the Stars the past few seasons and currently leads the Avs in points.
Semyon Varlamov is the likely starter in goal tonight for Colorado. He’s won only one of his last four starts and has a 0-1-2 career record against the Stars.
Possible line combos:
McGinn – Duchene – Parenteau
Mitchell – Stastny – Hejduk
McLeod – Sgarbossa – Kobasew
Bordeleau – Van der Gulik – Olver
Johnson – Hejda
O’Brien – Barrie
O’Byrne – Hunwick
Goals – 29th, Goals Against – 13th, Power Play – 23rd, Penalty Kill – 9th
Things have been less than perfect for the Stars lately. Injuries have depleted the top-six for the past three games and the penalty situation on the team is somehow getting worse. The offense has struggled mightily to keep possession of the puck and score goals.
Dallas will come into this game with two days rest under their belt and Derek Roy back into the fold tonight. Roy has missed the last five games with a groin issue and it’s had a massive effect on the Stars. His return will be big for Dallas.
To make room for Roy, the Stars sent Jordie Benn back to the minors. The move is possible because of Jamie Oleksiak, who has played well since being called up. Oleksiak should be in the starting line-up every game now.
Dallas has one big injury with Ray Whitney out for a month with a broken foot. His spot in the top-six could be taken by Reilly Smith, but who knows what Gulutzan will do. Smith is more of a right-winger and Whitney’s spot was on the left wing. Brenden Morrow could be in the top-six again tonight.
Dallas needs to show tonight that they have some control with their penalty issue. It may not hurt them too much tonight as the Avs have the worst PP in the league, but they have to be more disciplined.
Kari Lehtonen gets the start tonight. He’s 6-2-1 against the Avs in his career.
Eriksson – Benn– Jagr
Smith – Roy – Ryder
Morrow – Fiddler – Nystrom
Garbutt – Eakin – Roussel
Goligoski – Robidas
Larsen – Daley
Dillon – Oleksiak