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Gameday Preview: Colorado Avalanche @ Dallas Stars (2:00pm CDT)

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Colorado Avalanche
@ Dallas Stars

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010, 2:00 PM CDT
American Airlines Center

Local TV: NHL Center Ice Only.

Radio: 1310 am The Ticket (listen on line @

Complete Coverage >

The Stars take their final wack at the Avs today, trailing the season series with a mark of 1-2-0. The home team has won all three meetings thus far, with the Stars winning the most recent contest 3-2 on January 29th. Mike Modano was the Stars leading scorer with 2 goals. Speaking of two goals, the Stars have failed to score at least two goals in three straight home losses following the Olympic break. The Phoenix game on February 6th makes it well over a month since the AAC goal horn has blown more than once in Dallas.

Detroit's win last night makes the playoff math that much more difficult, but the Stars can hardly afford to look at the standings. Joe Nieuwendyk said going into this home stand that they needed "5 of 6 of 6 of 6." Their shootout loss against L.A. keeps the hope alive that they can split the difference there and get 11 of 12 points. This is the ultimate "one game at a time" situation, though. It continues with the Avs today, who have scored 14 goals in their last 3 games and are coming off a shutout of the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

Today's game is notable because it marks the first time in 13 years that a Dallas Stars regular season game will not be broadcast in the DFW area. The only way to see the game is to have NHL Center Ice (the blackout has been lifted and the Avalanche feed will be available.)

Defending Big D Live Blogging @ the AAC

In an effort to combat the no-tv blues, Defending Big D will be covering the game live at the AAC today. Please check in with our gameday thread for thought's on the game from the arena.

Follow the jump for injury updates, starting goaltenders and a look at the Avs:

The Stars:

Marty Turco will get the start in net today for the Stars. In his last three starts he's stopped 114 of 122 shots thrown his way for a save percentage of (.934%).

Perhaps the biggest reason for his success (well, you know) against the Kings was the change in philosophy from the Stars coaching staff in crafting the game plan. The Stars played a much more conservative style, sending the centers back to help out defensively like they used to under Dave Tippett, and having more support from the forwards in general. The downside was that this sometimes limited what the offense could do in transition as far as generating dangerous scoring chances.

So here's the question: If the offense was generating only one goal per game at home lately anyway (or if you want the big picture, the offensive numbers from last year under Tippett to this year under Crawford look a lot the same), is the added defensive emphasis a win/win? Or would you rather them stick to what they've been working on all year, with an eye on making it work in years to come under Coach Crawford?

The Avalanche have given the Stars fits this year with their speed and young talent. The defensive coverage will have to be just as stingy as it was on Friday to overcome them.

The somewhat nebulous line configurations of Friday could continue on Sunday should the offense continue to sputter. Mike Heika hazards a guess:

He went mostly with these four Friday against the Kings:


The Avalanche:

Check out Mile High Hockey for their take on the latest Avalanche outing:

After a disappointing game on Tuesday, the Avalanche put in a solid 60-minute effort this evening. It wasn't the most exciting game, especially early on, but did pick up intensity as the night wore on. After both teams skated to a 0-0 tie in a decidedly unspectacular first period, the Avs finally cracked Tomas Vokoun in the 2nd.

Honestly, I was already thinking shutout before that [2nd] goal. Anderson was playing well and Florida's attack didn't seem to have much bite on the evening. While the Avs did have some rough stretches defensively around the midway point of the 3rd, they seemed to shake it off and got back onto solid ground. Anderson some terrific saves in the 3rd, turning around all 13 shots that he faced. Matt Hendricks converted on a breakaway off of a turnover late in the game to ice the win for the Avs. Colorado got a much-needed 2 points in front of another sparse Denver crowd; 11, 485 was the official attendance, the 11th time this year the Avs have drawn under 12,000.

Like I said before: 14 goals in the last 3 games has this Colorado offense humming along quite well, but they have lost 3 of their last 4 road outings.

Also, Mile High Hockey tries to figure out who gets the Calder with a good old fashioned poll. Tyler Myers gets my vote.


Dallas: Nick Grossman is close, but still out with a nagging back injury. Tom Wandell of course it out for the year.

Colorado: Ruslan Salei is out with an "upper-torso" issue.