Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars @ Colorado Avalanche (8:00pm CDT)

The Dallas Stars travel to Denver tonight to take on the Avs in their first road game of the (pre)season. These teams met on Friday, with the Stars taking the game 2-1 on a particularly strong performance from Kari Lehtonen in net and goals from James Neal and Steve Ott.

The roster has been trimmed down to 30 players, with most prospects sent to Cedar Park or else off to their junior teams. This means we will (won't) see a much more NHL/veteran laden lineup tonight as the real meat of the pre-season begins. Likewise with the Avalanche who recently lost Peter Mueller to a concussion. I was unable to make it out to practice this morning before the team flew to Colorado, so I don't know what the lineup is. Some of the younger guys still with the team that could play tonight include Aaron Gagnon, Francis Wathier, Tomas Vincour, Philip Larsen, Severin Blindenbacher, and Maxime Fortunus. Now that the necessary waivers have been cleared, they can be sent to Cedar Park at any time but the Stars like having the extra bodies around right now.

James Neal, Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson have yet to see a game together, so I'm going out on a limb and betting they'll be on the ice tonight.

Saturday was Brent Krahn's final audition for the backup net minder job. Tonight is Andrew Raycrofts. He was scheduled to start at home on Thursday but a Kari Lehtonen groin issue caused that start to get moved up a game. Krahn was solid enough, but wholly unspectacular on Saturday, leaving the edge with Raycroft and his veteran experience in the NHL. If Raycroft can avoid some kind of large meltdown tonight, most feel the job will most likely be his.

Kari Lehtonen went through a full practice this morning and his groin should be good to go on Thursday night...against the Avalanche...again.

I have not seen an official yay or nay on radio broadcast tonight, but there at least exists the possibility that the Avs will have the game on "Cruisin' Oldies 950" again like on Friday. We'll try to confirm or deny that.

Go Stars.

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