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Preview: Colorado at Dallas
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 23, 2016
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Less than 24 hours after pulling out a victory with some late heroics, the Colorado Avalanche attempt to extend their winning streak to four games when they visit the Central Division-rival Dallas Stars on Saturday. Colorado was less than a minute away from defeat Friday against St. Louis, but Nathan MacKinnon forged a 1-1 tie with 54 seconds remaining and captain Gabriel Landeskog netted the lone tally in the shootout.
MacKinnon ranks second on the team with 16 goals and is tied with Matt Duchene for the club’s overall scoring lead at 39 points. Dallas has had a rough month as it has lost seven of its nine contests (2-5-2) to fall from first place in the Central. Captain Jamie Benn has rebounded from his four-game point drought, collecting three goals and two assists in the past five games. Landeskog was the star in Colorado’s home triumph over Dallas on Oct. 10, scoring two goals and setting up two others.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), FSN Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (25-21-3): The team’s defense corps should receive a boost Saturday as Erik Johnson will return to action. The 27-year-old blue-liner has not played since Jan. 4, missing nine games with a lower-body injury. Duchene assisted on MacKinnon’s goal Friday to maintain the tie for the team points lead but saw his goal-scoring drought reach four games.
ABOUT THE STARS (30-13-5): Dallas figures to get stronger on the blue line soon, as both Jordie Benn and Jamie Oleksiak — who is on a conditioning assignment with Texas of the American Hockey League — are expected to return from lower-body injuries. “Jordie is progressing,” coach Lindy Ruff told the team’s website. “(Oleksiak) will go the full two weeks and keep playing, which I think is really good for him.” The Stars’ special teams have struggled of late, going 3-for-28 on the power play during the last 11 games and 5-for-10 on the penalty kill in the last four contests.
1. Colorado is 11-3-1 against division rivals.
2. Dallas has been outscored 43-27 while going 1-7-3 against Colorado since 2013-14.
3. The Avalanche assigned D Nikita Zadorov to San Antonio of the AHL.
PREDICTION: Stars 5, Avalanche 2