The last time the Dallas Stars came to the Pepsi Center, they fell victim to a Matt Nieto hat-trick on their way to a 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars come into Denver having won two straight, including a 3-1 victory over the lowly Montreal Canadiens last night.
With the Avs sitting at home resting, and the Stars coming in on the second leg of a back to back, this is a perfect chance to grab a big win within the division. The season series is tied 1-1 with the home team winning both matchups so far.
It’s still early to be looking at the standings with any real significance but a regulation win for the Avalanche would pull them even with Dallas for fourth in the Central Division with two games in hand.
The Avs are going to look to build on a great win Sunday night in Detroit. After storming back to beat the Red Wings in overtime, the team returns to Denver where they have been outstanding all season.
Though they were outplayed by their counterparts the last time these two teams met, the Avs top line has been on fire lately. MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen are turning into one of the most dangerous lines in the league - let’s hope that continues tonight.
Judging from the morning skate, it seems as though Sven Andrighetto is going to find his way to the press box tonight as a healthy scratch.
On the back end, Patrik Nemeth is still out with a lower-body injury, but Anton Lindholm practiced with the team yesterday for the first time since breaking his jaw a few weeks ago. He’s not likely to get back into the lineup tonight, but it won’t be long before we see him back in game action.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Colin Wilson - Alex Kerfoot - J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Gabriel Bourque - Dominic Toninato - Nail Yakupov
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Chris Bigras - Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov - Mark Barberio
The Stars are coming into town having played last night and in the middle of a three-game in four nights stretch. They are a team that has been up and down and as expected, are being carried by their top line. Add to that that they are on a four-game road losing streak and this is a game that they likely shouldn’t be favored in.
Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alex Radulov lead the team in scoring with 21, 20, 20 points respectively - doubling the total for the next highest scoring Stars forward.
John Klingberg is on pace for 78 points and is showing why he is one of the best defensemen in the NHL.
Antoine Roussel - Jamie Benn - Alex Radulov
Devin Shore - Tyler Seguin - Brett Ritchie
Mattias Janmark-Nylen - Radek Faksa - Jason Spezza
Remi Elie - Gemel Smith - Tyler Pitlick
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Patryn
Jamie Oleksiak - Stephen Johns
After Semyon Varlamov missed practice yesterday due to sickness, Jonathan Bernier is set to get his second consecutive start for the Avs. Bernier has a 3-4-0 record with a .886 sv% in his seven starts this season. Andrew Hammond has been called up to back up Bernier for tonight’s game - it is his first time with the team since being acquired as part of the Matt Duchene trade.
Nothing is confirmed for Dallas, but we are likely to see Ben Bishop going back to back for the first time this season - head coach Ken Hitchcock alluded to the move last night.
If it’s not Bishop, we could see third-stringer Mike McKenna in his first NHL action of the season. McKenna was recalled earlier this week after backup Kari Lehtonen left the team for unspecified personal reasons.
In 12 games in the AHL this season, McKenna is 5-5-1 with a .871 sv%.
How to Watch/Listen
As always the game will be on Altitude, puck drop at 7:00 pm MST. For those of you looking for a different perspective, you can catch the Dallas broadcast on FS-Southwest and NHL.tv.
You can also listen to the game with our friend Marc Moser on Altitude Sports Radio 950AM.