While the Dallas Stars have struggled of late, that has not been the case when they’ve faced the Colorado Avalanche this season.
The Stars can avoid a third consecutive loss, and stop some recent bleeding at home, with a third straight win over the Avalanche on Saturday night.
It’s been a rather inconsistent season for Dallas, which comes out of the Christmas break at 20-14-4, still very much in the playoff mix but a loser in three of four. The Stars dropped to 0-2-1 in their last three at home following Sunday’s 5-1 loss to Calgary. That followed a 7-4 loss at Florida two days earlier.
During the Stars’ current 1-3-0 stretch, they’ve given up 17 goals, allowed opponents to go 7 of 18 on the power play, and are 2 for 10 when they have the man advantage. Dallas also has not scored more than two goals in any of its last four home contests.
“We’re off our game, clearly we are,” interim Dallas coach Rick Bowness told the team’s official website. “We’ll come (this weekend) in a better frame of mind and get back on track.”
The good news for the Stars is that they own a 6-2 scoring advantage while winning the first two meetings this season with Colorado, which sits second in the Central Division. Those victories came over a span of five days during November and amid the club’s season-best 11-0-1 run.
Anton Khudobin made 38 saves in a 2-1 win at Colorado on Nov. 1 and Ben Bishop stopped 36 shots in the Stars’ 4-1 home victory over the Avalanche on Nov. 5. Bishop, though, has a 4.40 goals-against average during an 0-3-1 slide. Khudobin is 3-1-0 with a 1.62 goals-against average as a starter at home, but last made a start there on Nov. 23.
Colorado will look to rebound after losing for the fourth time in six games Friday, 6-4 at home to Minnesota. Down 2-0 in the first period, the Avalanche rallied and took a 4-3 lead early in the third on Matt Calvert’s second goal of the game. However, the Wild scored the final three goals of the contest over the final 9:19 of the game to win.
Calvert has a pair of two-goal games over the last three. Nathan MacKinnon (56 points), meanwhile, scored his 22nd for Colorado, which has dropped three straight home games. However, it’s won two in a row and eight of 10 on the road.
“We had a lot of guys that could have been better, and hopefully they will be better (Saturday night),” Colorado coach Jared Bednar told reporters after the game Friday.
“You take the season as a whole, we’ve been pretty good. But this shows we’ve got a lot to work on. … It doesn’t get any easier with a back-to-back going into Dallas.”
MacKinnon scored against the Stars at home this season, but has gone three consecutive games at Dallas without a goal.
After Pavel Francouz made 27 saves versus Minnesota, Philipp Grubauer should be in net for the Avalanche in this back-to-back scenario. Grubauer has a 3.40 goals-against average during a three-game losing streak. He yielded all six goals on 67 shots in the two games versus Dallas this season.
Tyler Seguin’s five-game point streak (four goals, three assists) ended for the Stars last weekend. He has 12 goals and 12 assists in his last 16 games versus Colorado.
–Field Level Media