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Game 42 Preview: Avalanche Shoot for the Stars

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The Avalanche can start the second half of their 2014-2015 campaign on the right foot by beating the Dallas Stars in this matinee showdown and passing them in the Western Conference standings.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche have undergone something of a resurgence over the last month.  While the team hasn't started out-shooting their opponents on a regular basis, and the team's top forwards are still struggling to produce, they've seen their possession improve compared to the first quarter of the 2015 campaign, and most importantly, their goaltending has stepped up to cover the team's largest warts.  Suddenly a season that seemed all-but lost has a small glimmer of hope as the Avalanche sit 5 points back of the Western Conference wildcard spot, and 7 points back of the next pack of playoff teams.  That may not sound like a lot, but it's a hefty climb considering the number of teams between the Avalanche and a playoff spot.  The first of those teams comes to town today and the Avalanche have a chance to pass them in the standings with a win.

The Stars (18-15-7) have a remarkably similar team to the Avalanche (17-16-8).  Both teams have extremely dynamic forwards, below average defensive groups, and quality number one goaltenders.  The Stars, like the Avs are improving of late, going 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, and they enter this afternoon's tilt coming off a 3-2 overtime victory over the division leading Nashville Predators.  Last time these teams played the Avalanche caught the Stars on the second night of a back-to-back and they absolutely walloped the Stars at the Pepsi Center.  The Avalanche nearly doubled up on the Stars in shots (47-24) and sent them packing with a final score of 5-2.  Today, with both teams rested and desperate for points the Avalanche will likely face a much tougher Stars team.

Lines

Alex Tanguay - Ryan O`Reilly - Jarome Iginla

Max Talbot - John Mitchell - Nathan MacKinnon

Gabriel Landeskog - Matt Duchene - Borna Rendulic

Cody McLeod - Marc Andre Cliche - Daniel Briere

Keith Yandle oops I mean Jan Hejda, sorry still caught up in yesterday - Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Brad Stuart - Nick Holden

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Game Notes

  • With his next goal, Jarome Iginla will catch Mike Bossy as the 20th highest goal scorer in the history of the National Hockey League. Regardless of anything else going on this season, that is really, really freaking cool. He also sits 6 points back of Dino Ciccarelli for 46th in all time scoring.
  • Daniel Briere needs 5 points to reach 700 in his career.
  • Cody McLeod needs 3 points to reach 100 in his career.
  • Nick Holden is slated to participate in the 99th NHL game of his career.

Avalanche Hot List:

  • Semyon Varlamov has stopped 88 of the last 90 shots he's faced. That's a whole bunch of saves.
  • Jarome Iginla has 4 goals and a team 2nd best 14 shots on goal in his last 5 games (Johnson leads the team with 15)
  • Gabe Landeskog also has 14 shots, but just 1 goal watch for pucks to drop for him if he keeps that up.
  • After watching his production slow for a bit, Tyson Barrie has 4 points in his last 5 games.

Game Info

Puck Drops at the Pepsi Center at 3:00 PM EST/1:00 PM MST on Altitude TV