NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, November 1st
(All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (10-1-0) at Dallas Stars (5-6-1), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche have grabbed plenty of headlines
by matching the best start in franchise history.
However, Patrick Roy's squad is now dealing with some unwanted attention.
Roy will try to prevent goaltender Semyon Varlamov's off-the-ice troubles from
becoming a distraction in Dallas on Friday night when the Avs go for a fifth
straight victory in a meeting with the Stars.
Colorado improved to 10-1-0 on the season with last Sunday's 3-2 victory over
the visiting Winnipeg Jets. Matt Duchene scored his ninth goal of the season
-- tied for third most in the league -- in the first period before Jan Hejda
and Paul Stastny erased a one-goal deficit with third-period tallies.
The rally allowed the Avs to match the best start in franchise history, a
10-1-0 beginning to the 1994-95 campaign by the Quebec Nordiques.
"We came in here tonight, and although we were behind, we knew we wouldn't
lose this game. We had the belief and we got the job done," said Duchene, who
has four goals in his past five games.
Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves in the win, improving to 7-1-0 with a 1.76 goals
against average in eight starts this season.
However, the 25-year-old Russian found himself in the headlines during the
week when he was arrested on domestic violence-related charges.
Varlamov turned himself into police on Wednesday evening and is accused of
assaulting his girlfriend, kicking her in the chest and dragging her by the
hair. He spent Wednesday night in jail before standing before a judge on
Thursday morning and was granted permission to travel with the team while also
having a restraining order imposed.
Varlamov was scheduled to start tonight's game, but Roy would not commit to
that plan on Thursday.
"We're just going to do exactly like we've been doing all along. We're going
to take it one day at a time. We're going to focus on Dallas tomorrow," said
Roy, whose club is 5-0-0 on the road this season and hosts Montreal on
The play of backup netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere may make Roy's decision a
bit easier as he has won all three of his starts this season while posting a
0.67 GAA and two shutouts.
Giguere is 16-20-3 with a tie and 2.72 GAA in his career versus the Stars,
while Varlamov is 2-3-2 with a 3.68 GAA in seven meetings.
The fallout from Varlamov's arrest overshadowed a trade made by the Avs on
Thursday as they dealt forward Steve Downie to Philadelphia for Max Talbot.
Talbot registered one goal and an assist in 11 games with the Flyers this
season and is expected to boost a penalty-kill unit that already ranks first
in the NHL at 92.3 percent.
"Talbot has won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh. He's a great penalty killer. We
feel he's going to bring a lot of depth to our team," said Roy.
The Stars are back in action after having a three-game point streak (2-0-1)
snapped with Tuesday's 2-1 setback to the Canadiens. Cody Eakin had the lone
goal and Kari Lehtonen gave up a pair of goals on 24 shots.
Dallas was shooting for back-to-back wins after having won in Buffalo the
"It was a hard-fought game," said Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff. "I thought we
did a good job killing off their power plays, we had a couple of late
opportunities point blank. They did a great job of being in shot lanes and
blocking shots. It's probably a game we could have come out of here with
Dallas fell to 3-5-1 in its last nine games.
Lehtonen is 8-3-1 with a 2.50 GAA in his career versus the Avalanche, who have
lost three of their last four in Dallas but did notch a 3-2 home win over the
club on Oct. 15.
Varlamov made 39 saves and Duchene scored twice for Colorado.
Eakin had a goal for the Stars and backup netminder Dan Ellis made 23 saves as
Lehtonen missed the game with a lower-body injury.
11/01 10:42:09 ET