Game Preview: Avs @ Stars


6:30 PM MT, 1/27/14

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.  

I asked Michael Anthony Orona, editor of Blackout Dallas, for his thoughts on tonight’s game. Here’s what he had to say:

What makes the Avalanche a dangerous team for the Stars?

Well, their team speed for one. Guys like Duchene and MacKinnon can flat our fly. They’ve also had outstanding goaltending from Semyon Varlamov.

Scouting the Avs’ lineup, what player scares you the most?
Nathan MacKinnon. He may only be a rookie but the kid can flat out play. I really think he’s going to be a top 10 player in the league in 2-3 years.
After losing 9 out of 10, Dallas has won 3 in a row. What have they done differently in these last 3 wins?
Well they’re playing mistake free hockey. They’ve cut down on the turnovers and are getting great play from the back end. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have also been phenomenal.
The Stars have some tough sledding in the next few weeks, with 5 out of their next 6 games against teams in the playoff hunt. What do the Stars have to do well tonight against the Avalanche?
Keep playing mistake free hockey. If they can cut down on mental mistakes they have an excellent shot.

Follow Mile High Sticking or myself on Twitter tonight during the game!





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Tags: Avalanche Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars Preview

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