Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars
Friday, November 1 @ 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Coming off a 2-1 loss Tuesday night in Montreal, the Stars (5-6-1) return home on Friday to take on the Central Division leading Colorado Avalanche (10-1-0) at the American Airlines Center.
“They’re still a pretty hot team,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “They’ve got pretty good goaltenders over there, so we are going to have to find a way to get dirty and find the greasy ones. It’s going to be a pretty tough challenge.”
Tuesday's loss added to what is now an 0-3 record in the second game of back-to-backs this season and snapped a three game point streak for Dallas. Despite Cody Eakin's second period goal to cut the lead in half, the Habs 29 blocked shots proved to be the difference in the Stars lack of scoring opportunities.
Only two skaters for Montreal not did record at least one blocked shot.
“It was a tight game,” said head coach Lindy Ruff. “We didn’t make the mistakes we’ve made in road games. The third period, we had four of five point blank (chances). If you don’t score, you don’t get anything.”
Currently last in the Central, Ruff seemed eager to begin a fresh start in the month of November. The Stars finished October ranked 18th in the league in goals per game (2.50) and 21st in the league in goals allowed (2.92).
“I think we are getting closer to where we want to be,” Ruff told the Stars official website. “We’ve really cut down on the careless plays of late. We’re making steps, but the only one that counts now is learning how to win. That might be by blocking a shot, that might be creating an extra chance, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”
The Stars will look to tame the red hot Avalanche who have yet to lose on the road this season (5-0). Friday night marks the second of five meetings between the Stars and Avs this season. Colorado defeated Dallas 3-2 in their first meeting despite being outshot by the Stars 41-26 in Denver on Oct. 15.
“They’re fast, skilled and they’ve had some really good goaltending, but the first thing that comes to mind is that they are a fast and skilled team,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “They move the puck really well, they work hard on the forecheck and they backcheck really hard.”
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is likely to make his fifth consecutive start in net tonight for Dallas. Lehtonen has won four out of seven starts this season and currently ranks second in the league in goals against average (1.66) and tied for third in save percentage (.945).
GOALS: Tyler Seguin, Alex Chiasson (5)
ASSISTS: Jamie Benn (8)
POINTS: Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin (12)
SHOTS: Alex Chiasson (41)
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Erik Cole
Ray Whitney - Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson
Valeri Nichushkin - Rich Peverley - Shawn Horcoff
Lane MacDermid - Vernon Fiddler - Antoine Roussel
Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Sergei Gonchar
Alex Goligoski - Jordie Benn
Dan Ellis (backup)
D Kevin Connauton, F Ryan Garbutt (suspended)
Winners of 10 of their first 11 games this season, the first place Avalanche return to Dallas for the first time as Central Division rivals. Coming off a five day layoff, the Avs are well rested after Sunday's a 3-2 win at home against the Winnipeg Jets.
Trailing 2-1 after two periods, the Avalanche scored twice in the third period to seal their tenth win in regulation this season. Sunday marked the first time the Avs trailed after two periods of play this season.
“Like I said to the guys between the second and the third, during a season you always have to face adversity at a moment," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy told the team website. "It was important for us to try and give our best period. I'm proud of our guys."
Colorado is currently 18 for 18 on the penalty kill over the last four games and have allowed just two goals or fewer in 10 of their 11 games this season.
The Avs improved their defensive forecheck even more on Thursday by acquiring forward Max Talbot from Philadelphia in exchange for forward Steve Downie.
“Talbot has won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh, he’s a great penalty killer, we feel that he’s going to bring a lot of depth to our team,” Roy said. “He’s a guy that has performed really well in the playoffs, and we think he’ll be a great addition to this team.”
Talbot has tallied one goal and one assist in 11 games for the Flyers this season.
Despite being arrested on second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault charges on Wednesday, starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who posted bond Thursday, is currently traveling with the team and is expected to start in goal for the Avalanche tonight in Dallas.
"Why wait?" Avs coach Patrick Roy told The Denver Post after the team's Friday morning skate. "We're all aware of what happened, but we just feel that he's our guy. We have confidence in him and feel that it's good for him to play tonight."
As per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, here’s is NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly’s statement on the Varlamov matter:
“At this point, we are monitoring the developing legal situation and do not intent to intervene in that process. There may come a point in time where we feel it is either necessary or appropriate to take a different approach, but that’s not where we are right now.
We are and will remain in close contact with the Club, and will see how the underlying facts unfold.”
GOALS: Matt Duchene (9)
ASSISTS: Paul Stastny, Nathan MacKinnon (6)
POINTS: Matt Duchene (13)
SHOTS: Matt Duchene (37)
Forward Jamie McGinn (knee) is questionable.