After grinding out a big road win Thursday night in Los Angeles, the Dallas Stars are set to start a stretch of three games in four days by hosting the Colorado Avalanche. While the Stars have had a few matinee games over the last two months, after today’s contest they will only have two more for the rest of the season (and funny enough both of those are at home against NorthWest opponents as well). Dallas will come into the game banged up but they have scored four goals in five of their last six games and 4-2 over that stretch. The streak mainly coincides with some elevated play from All-Star Jamie Benn and ASG snub Loui Eriksson. Both of the Stars top wingers have racked up 10 points in the last six games and both seem to be heating up at the right time. With Mike Ribeiro out and possibly still sidelined for a few more games, the boys in black will continue to have to find scoring from their other top offensive threats.
As mentioned above, Ribeiro has been ruled out for the game and is likely “out a few more days” as of yesterday. While the MCL tear is something that can be played through with a brace and some therapy, the swelling will be a big part of when he can return and how much he can play. Rookies Philip Larsen and Tomas Vincour have started skating and each could return from their injury in a week or so. Also Kari Lehtonen appears fine after being run over a few times on Thursday night and is expected to start in net. Avs center Peter Mueller returned in their 3-2 overtime loss on Thursday after missing 40 straight games with a head injury and looks to be good to go. Matt Duchene and Shane O’Brien are both out with knee injuries.
The Stars are 2-1 against the Avs so far this season, and today’s matchup will be their final meeting this season. After the 7-6 OT game early in the season, the series has been a little tame since. The Avs won the second meeting 3-0 in Colorado before the Stars won the third meeting (also in Colorado) by a 3-1 final. The Stars will need to be ready to go from the opening puck drop for the young Colorado team. With a team stacked with young players that are former high draft picks, the Avs are still a rollercoaster team but they do have great speed and can explode offensively any night. Letting the Avs jump on them early and getting a lead could be trouble for the Stars. Dallas is 5-4-1 at home in their last ten and improving that going forward should be a serious focus as things start to heat up in the playoff race. You can catch the game on FSSW locally, NHL Network nationally, and on 1310AM The Ticket for the radio feed. Make sure you to be prepared, the 2PM CST start is pretty early for some Western Conference hockey.
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