While Dallas has earned a 7-3 record in its last 10 games, the Avalanche, on the other hand, enter the night having won only three games in their previous 10.
If Colorado can win tonight’s game, it would leapfrog Dallas and claim second in the Central Division with 56 points on the season. That’s right. Despite a challenging string of losses, the Avs are still among the league’s top teams in the standings. December and January seem to be tough months for the Avalanche. Last year the Avs won just seven of 24 games in the months of December and January. This year, so far, they’ve won just nine of 19.
While Colorado has lacked some production from some of its members as of late, a resurgence by Samuel Girard, who has nine points in his last five games, including a four-point night against the St. Louis Blues back on Jan. 2, has been a welcomed sight. Meanwhile, Nathan MacKinnon has continued his usual dominating performances night-in and night-out. MacKinnon is currently averaging 1.47 points per game, while he remains on pace for a career-high in both goals and assists.
Lines based on practice yesterday:
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Valeri Nichushkin - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Vladislav Kamenev
Matt Nieto - Pierre Edouard Bellemare - Matt Calvert
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov - Ian Cole
Everything seems to be working out in Dallas these days. After a slow start and a sudden firing of their head coach, the Stars are aligning as one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now. Dallas’ loss to San Jose last Saturday marked the end of a six-game winning streak, which included a primetime comeback win over the Nashville Predators at the Winter Classic in Dallas.
The early and unforeseen departure of coach Jim Montgomery seems to have galvanized the locker room. Dallas is 9-5 since the coaching change. It helps that the Stars have very productive, and young blueliners in Miro Heiskanen and Esa Lindell. At just 20- and 25years of age, respectively, the pair have accounted for 42 points on the year.
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Joel Kiviranta
Denis Gurianov - Roope Hintz - Joe Pavelski
Mattias Janmark - Jason Dickinson - Alexander Radulov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Roman Polak - Andrej Sekera
The Avalanche will go with goaltender Philipp Grubauer in tonight’s substantial divisional game. It would be an excellent time for Gru to send a message to his team and the rest of the league. When the Avalanche have strong goaltending, they play with transitional supremacy and often overwhelm their opponents.
Dallas will start big Ben Bishop tonight. Bishop is 15-9-3 with a .928 save percentage. His goals allowed average is 2.24, which ranks second among goalies (minimum of 25 starts). Bishop is big and talented and is expected to again contend for the Vezina Trophy. However, his GAA could be a testament to the Stars’ stout defense in front of him. Dallas ranks top-five in a number of defensive stats, including being the top team in average goals allowed per game (2.33), fewest total goals allowed all season (105) and the third-ranked penalty-killing unit (83.5 percent).