It's another Avalanche gameday, but this time, it will be the first regular-season meeting of the two titans of the Central Divison. The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars have plenty of history behind the matchup, and if things go to plan for both squads, there will be more to discover in the future. Will the Avalanche win a third straight game and stake their claim as the best team in the division? Or will it be another good night for a Dallas team looking for their fifth consecutive victory?
A lot has happened positively for the Avalanche since their embarrassing 8-2 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Blues a week ago. They have won both games since and ironically beat the Ducks 8-2. The Avalanche have dominated their opposition since a shaky first period against the Kraken on Monday. Tonight's game should be hard-fought and come down to the wire.
We should get our first taste of "high-stakes hockey" tonight, which means maximum effort from both squads. We are a long way away from the playoffs, but this one is more important due to the importance of head-to-head points.
The Avalanche have played division games already, but not against the brass of the central. The same goes for the Dallas Stars. Coaches always say playoff matchups don't matter; you must play who's in front of you. That's political jargon if you ask me. Winning the division means avoiding the third-best team in the division and instead facing the eighth seed in the west. It didn't work out last season, but that had much to do with an injured Avalanche squad.
We've been playing pretend rivalry with the Seattle Kraken for the first frame of the regular season, but this, right here, should be the real rivalry, especially if either team wants to make a run at the cup!
Valeri Nuchshkin — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Jonathan Drouin — Ryan Johansen — Tomas Tatar
Miles Wood — Ross Colton — Logan O'Connor
Andrew Cogliano — Fredrik Olofsson — Joel Kiviranta
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Bo Byram — Sam Girard
Jack Johnson — Caleb Jones
Note: If the Avalanche can roll with the same roster they did against the Ducks, they should do so. All four lines looked like they established some chemistry.
As mentioned, the Dallas Stars are on an absolute heater, winning their last four games and outscoring their opponents 20-10. Dallas has always been a tough out for the Avalanche, and that should remain true. They propose an interesting test for an Avalanche team that reportedly sought to add size, toughness, and grit to their middle six-forward group in the offseason.
Dallas has a young stud defender in Miro Heiskanen and still employs Avalanche killer Joe Pavelski. As usual, keep an eye on Jamie Benn, as he's been known to provoke extracurricular activities against the Avalanche. He might be eager to get on the good side of a tilt against the Avs, seeing as it's been a while!
How could I forget Matt Duchene's first go against the Avalanche with his new club? He's now played for the Senators, Blue Jackets, Predators, and Dallas Stars since leaving Denver and will likely score a goal against the Avalanche in typical fashion.
Jason Robertson — Roope Hintz — Joe Pavelski
Jamie Benn — Wyatt Johnston — Evgenii Dadonov
Mason Marchment — Matt Duchene — Tyler Seguin
Craig Smith — Radek Faksa — Ty Dellandrae
Ryan Suter — Miro Heiskanen
Esa Lindell — Nils Lundqvist
Joel Hanley — Jani Hakanpaa
This will be the biggest showdown of the season for both rosters, and the netminders follow suit. For the Stars, it will be Jake Ottinger, the big-bodied goalie with a ton of regular season and playoff success.
Alexandar Georgiev has a tremendous opportunity on his hands as the Avalanche starter. Winning this matchup and game could prove monumental to his confidence in the future.
Let us know what you think of the matchup in the comments!