Let us once against set aside the scoreboard watching and clinching scenarios that have saturated our aching brains for the last week and focus on the task at hand: The Dallas Stars vs the Colorado Avalanche part 2. On to Denver.
After the first period last night I think the majority of Stars fans were scratching their heads at exactly how disjointed the Colorado Avalanche looked and thought the Stars could have easily been up by four with all possession and chances they had. "We get to play these guys tomorrow, too" we said.
Then came the second period where things got a little dicey, and when the score was 3-2 in the third no one was taking it for granted any longer. The Avalanche may be young and inexperienced at this point with all of the call ups in the lineup, but they played hard last night and they'll do even better in their own building tonight as they start a two game home stand to end their season.
Speaking of that building: The Stars don't do well there. At all.
Dallas has dropped six of their last seven games in Denver, including a 5-0 loss this season and 4-1 and 4-0 losses last season. They've been outscored 13-1 in the last three and 25-9 in the last seven. Tomorrow will be the second anniversary of the Stars last victory at Pepsi Center, a 3-2 shootout win on April 9th, 2009. Of course, a shootout win will simply not do tonight.
Kari Lehtonen is expected to start the back to back, marking his 68th start of the season and 21st consecutive over all. The 68 games played ties a career high (and should silence anyone out there still wanting to make Kari Lehtonen health jokes...)
The Stars have some extra bodies they insert for fresh legs but it sounds like they're going to stick with what works...
Adam Burish returned to the lineup last night in a limited role, playing with Brandon Segal and Jason Williams on the Stars' 4th line. He logged only 7:27 of ice time and ate a minus in that brief period. He won all three faceoffs he took and whether due to coaches decision or lack of opportunity (Dallas took only one minor penalty) played no penalty kill time.
If he can return he will probably be back in that same limited role tonight. If not then Vincour could find his way back into the lineup. Steve Ott told BaD Radio this afternoon that he expected to play with Ribeiro and Morrow again and that the lines should be the same as they were last night.
Nick Grossman traveled with the team but will not play tonight. He is a possibility for Sunday in Minnesota if things are still going well, though it would be an off time to mix it up.
Peter Budaj is expected to be in net for the Avalanche. He is 6-2-4 against Dallas in his career.
This building could be an unusually tough place to play tonight due to the retirement announcement of Adam Foote which has consumed the local hockey community throughout the day. Attendance could be high and the young guys are bound to be affected by such proceedings. The Avs have only drawn a little over 13,000 in their last several home games. Colorado has only had two captains in their history (Sakic and Foote).
Meet us here for the gameday thread and more neurosis riddled scoreboard watching tonight.