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Dallas Stars- Colorado Avalanche Preview

The Dallas Stars take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Avalanche are one of the surprise teams of the first half and pose a serious threat to Dallas’s 3 game winning streak. You can find Stars vs. Avalanche tickets here.

Below is our good friend Payton Bartee’s (Staff writer for MileHighSticking) game preview:

The Avs conclude their three game road trip with a Monday night match-up against the Dallas Stars. Singling out any one game for its particular importance can be dicey, but this one actually has significance for both clubs.

The Avalanche certainly had a strange weekend in Florida. After playing some fantastic hockey the past few weeks, they laid an egg against the visiting Maple Leafs before barely getting by a resilient Florida Panthers squad. A win’s a win, but they couldn’t capitalize on solid scoring chances in a 5-2 throttling by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. On the plus side, the Good Guys are finally mostly healthy, welcoming back P.A. Parenteau and Alex Tanguay in the past week. Let’s hope Pauly Walnuts (6G,6A in last 8 vs. DAL) and The Kid keep lighting the lamp (7 Gs this month) tonight in American Airlines Arena. The Avs currently sit 5th in the Western Conference standings, with three rivals nipping at their heels. After a quick trip home to face the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado begins an Eastern Conference road trip before the Sochi Olympics.

After recently losing nine out of ten games, Dallas has rebounded and won three in a row. The Stars are right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, currently sitting 10th, but only six points out of the 8th spot. Defeating the Avalanche tonight would go a long way in helping the Stars endure a grueling schedule over the next few weeks: Dallas faces Western playoff contenders Anaheim, San Jose, and Phoenix twice, as well as New Jersey on Thursday. As a team, the Stars have really found an offensive rhythm (14 goals!) to gel with excellent goal-tending from Kari Lehtonen (stopped 66/67 shots) over the past three games. The dangerous Jamie Benn also has six points (2G,4A) during the winning streak. Dallas defeated Colorado 3-2 in the last contest on Dec. 17th; Colorado owns the season series 3-1.

We asked Payton for his thoughts on tonight’s game. Here’s what he had to say:

What makes the Stars a dangerous team for the Avs?
The first line chemistry of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Add an emerging Valeri Nichushkin to the mix, and that’s a group that can score at any moment.
Scouting the Stars’ lineup, what player scares you the most? 
Tyler Seguin. It seems like he has certain nights where’s strictly sniping and some where he is purely trying to set up scoring chances, but he can beat you either way by igniting his team’s offensive output. He’s an amazing talent young talent who’s only getting better.
The Avs have been the surprise team of the first half. What do you think has been the biggest reason for the Avs strong play?
The obvious answer is the brilliant and consistent goal-tending of Semyon Varlamov. But also, head coach Patrick Roy helped this team realize how much of a weapon their collective speed is. It helps on the fore-check, it masks only an average blue-line corps, and it obviously generates scoring chances.
What do the Avs need to do tonight to get a win against Dallas? 
Statistically, the Avs are almost unbeatable when they score first, so peppering Lehtonen with early shots on goal will be a huge factor for Colorado. They also need to get Alex Tanguay involved–he was a huge reason for their massive success early in the season before his injury.

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