Playing for the second time in as many nights, the Dallas Stars (9-9-5) are in Denver tonight to take on the Colorado Avalanche (8-10-5). Game time is 8:00 p.m. CST. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.
This is the first of five meetings between the Central Division clubs this season, and the first of three at the Pepsi Center.
The teams will rematch in Denver on Jan. 10 and Feb. 14. They will play in Dallas on Feb. 3 and 27.
The Stars enter this game coming off an uneven effort in a 5-4 home overtime loss yesterday to the Minnesota Wild. Dallas trailed 3-0 in the second period before rallying for consecutive goals by Ales Hemsky (first as a Star), Tyler Seguin and, with 11 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Erik Cole. In the third period, Alex Goligoski forged a 4-3 lead with 6:31 left in the clock. Minnesota’s Thomas Vanek re-tied the game at 4-4 with 1:52 left in the third period before Marco Scandella won the game for Minnesota at 2:04 of overtime.
Kari Lehtonen continued what has been an up-and-down season for him this far. He made 29 saves on 34 shots. Several of the saves were spectacular but there were also potentially makeable stops that ended up in the net. Struggling backup Anders Lindbäck will get the nod tonight against Colorado rookie Calvin Pickard.
The Avs had been on a 4-1-0 run but dropped a 3-2 home decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Ryan O’Reilly scored just his third goal of the season, while Max Talbot also scored in a losing cause. Pickard made 42 saves in a match where the Avs got outshot 45-29.
On the Colorado injury front, top pairing Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson and center John Mitchell are both expected to be back in the lineup tonight. For Dallas, Ryan Garbutt will serve the second and final game of a two-game NHL suspension for a knee-to-knee hit on Edmonton’s Taylor Hall. Valeri Nichushkin (hip surgery) is out until the stretch drive and Patrik Nemeth (forearm laceration) is out for the season.