NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, January 27th
(All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (32-14-5) at Dallas Stars (24-20-8), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The red-hot Dallas Stars will try to push their winning
streak to a season-high four straight games on Monday night when they face the
The Stars have outscored their opponents 14-1 over their first three-game
winning streak since Nov. 13-17 and it comes at a great time as they had lost
nine of 10 before this stretch. Dallas now sits six points behind Minnesota
for eighth place in the Western Conference.
Kari Lehtonen has keyed the Stars' current win streak, posting two shutouts
and stopping 66-of-67 shots faced. He stopped all 24 shots fired his way in
Saturday's 3-0 win over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lehtonen posted his third shutout of the season and 25th of his career,
supported by goals from Sergei Gonchar, Jamie Benn and Rich Peverley. The
netminder also assisted on Gonchar's first-period power-play goal, while Benn
has two goals and six points over his last three games.
"The last three games have all been excellent from all three zones. Tonight
was a very good win for our team," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said.
Dallas has won the first three of its five-game homestand and will try to win
four in a row for the first time since April 5-13 of last season.
Colorado aims to finish off a three-game road trip with a victory and avoid a
third loss in four games. The Avs began the swing with a 3-2 victory in
Florida on Friday, but lost 5-2 the following night to the Tampa Bay
Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves in the win over the Panthers and the Avs were
slated to start backup Jean-Sebastian Giguere on Saturday, but he was unable
to go due to a stiff back. That led to 21-year-old Sami Aittokallio making the
start, the second of his career.
The youngster yielded three goals on 18 shots and was lifted after the second
period. All three goals allowed came in the middle frame as he made 11 saves
in the opening period before getting beat on a rebound goal and then a
knuckler from the top right of the circle in a 1:33 span of the second.
"Those first two goals, I've got to make those saves," Aittokallio admitted.
John Mitchell and Tyson Barrie scored goals in the final two minutes of the
second period, but Varlamov was beaten twice on 11 shots in the third.
Though he didn't get the full rest the Avs wanted, Varlamov should be back in
net tonight. He has won all three of his starts versus the Stars this season,
posting a 1.97 goals against average, and is 4-3-2 against them lifetime with
a 3.27 GAA.
Lehtonen is 0-1-1 versus the Avalanche this season, yielding nine goals on 77
shots, but still a solid 8-4-2 in his career with a 2.76 GAA in his career
The Avalanche won their first three meetings with the Stars this season before
dropping the back end of a home-and-home set on Dec. 17 in Dallas. They have
lost four of their last six as the visitor in this series.
01/27 19:54:00 ET