NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, March 20th
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (13-12-3) at Colorado Avalanche (10-14-4), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars' first victory in over a week on Monday
may not have gotten them out of last place in the Pacific Division, but it
kept them in the crowded hunt for a playoff spot.
The Stars look to make a move up the division ladder on Wednesday evening and
hand the struggling Colorado Avalanche a fifth straight defeat.
Dallas snapped a season high-tying four-game slide on Monday with a 4-3
victory over the Calgary Flames. The Stars' first victory since March 7 gave
them 29 points, which has them 11th in the Western Conference but just one
point back of three teams for the eighth spot.
Two of those teams, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes, are idle on
Wednesday, so the Stars can certainly help themselves with two points tonight.
Dallas was outscored 16-3 over its four-game slide and was coming off an 8-1
thrashing at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday before rebounding
to beat Calgary. Loui Eriksson scored during a three-goal first period and
added the game-winner in the third period.
Eric Nystrom and Erik Cole also scored and Kari Lehtonen made 16 saves.
"After our last game we wanted to bounce back and have a good effort," said
Nystrom. "We did for the most part and that's a huge two points. We're right
back in the thick of things. It was tough the past couple of days, but we're
right back in it."
The Stars got a scare when the Flames scored a pair of power-play goals in the
second period, but Eriksson gave his club a two-goal edge with 7:54 to play in
the third. That proved big when the Flames tallied with 4:46 on the clock.
"It was a big win. I thought we clawed our way a little bit to the surface
here. We still have a few feet to go, but I thought our effort in the
beginning was good," Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We didn't have the
second we wanted, but we stabilized a little bit in the third."
The Avalanche are also looking to right the ship as they have dropped a
season-high four in a row and sit last in the West with 24 points. Three of
their setbacks over the skid have come at home, dropping the club to 8-5-1 in
Denver this season.
Colorado played the second of a three-game homestand on Monday and was dealt a
5-2 setback by Chicago. Gabriel Landeskog scored in his third straight game, a
short-handed tally, and Milan Hejduk also tallied.
Semyon Varlamov had 27 saves in the setback against a Chicago team that was
out for revenge after Colorado had snapped its NHL-record 24-game season-
opening point streak.
"Tonight was a good display of a team with confidence playing a team with
little to no confidence," Hejduk said. "This was a different team than when we
played them before and broke the streak. We got outplayed, plain and simple."
The Avs will try to avoid their first five-game slide since Jan. 22-Feb. 4 of
Colorado has lost five of its past seven against Dallas, including a 3-2 home
setback on Feb. 4. Jamie Benn scored twice for the Stars and Lehtonen made 29
P.A. Parenteau and Hejduk each posted a goal for the Avalanche, while Varlamov
gave up all three goals on 26 shots.
Dallas has won two straight and three of its last four in Colorado.
03/20 10:37:41 ET