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Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars Host Colorado Avalanche (7:30pm CDT)

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Preseason Game #2: Colorado Avalanche @ Dallas Stars

Thursday, September 22, 2011, 7:30 PM CDT
American Airlines Center

Local TV, Radio: None

Opponent Blog: Mile High Hockey

[Ed. Note: The rumor is that the Avs radio broadcast will be carried here: Last season the same station was supposed to carry the game but nothing was heard but dead air. Hopefully the issue has been corrected.]

One half of the Dallas Stars lineup dominated the majority of possession and play in Montreal on Tuesday night, earning a 6-3 victory. Tonight at American Airlines Center the other half of the training camp roster will get a chance to show they can implement the "spine" of Glen Gulutzan's system as well.

The first Glen Gulutzan coached game at the AAC will feature young draft picks such as Jamieson Oleksiak on defense and Jack Campbell in net, highlight new additions in Vernon Fiddler, Radek Dvorak and Sheldon Souray, and give a glimpse of the team's core group in a line expected to contain Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Steve Ott. Indeed, there should be something for everyone tonight as the Avalanche come calling.

For large swaths of the first and third periods the Stars shut down the Montreal attack and limited dangerous scoring chances to nearly none, creating turnovers at their own blue line with excellent positioning and turning them into productive counter attacks the other way. The Ribeiro/Morrow/Ryder line led the way, and Jamie Benn's crew will be watched closely to see if they can do the same tonight.

Brenden Morrow tweaked a knee and injured a finger in the victory Tuesday, leaving him on the shelf with fellow veteran Stephane Robidas. Neither injury is thought to be serious enough to keep either out of regular season action in October. Scott Glennie remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury sustained in camp last weekend.

After the jump we preview the entire Stars roster and look at the changes in the Avalanche net this off-season...

Continued after the jump

The Stars:

Word out of Frisco was that the lineup should look something like this against Colorado on Thursday night:

Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Loui Eriksson
Adam Burish-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell-Colton Sceviour-Tomas Vincour
Luke Gazdic-Ryan Garbutt-Eric Godard

Sheldon Souray-Philip Larsen
Jordie Benn-Mark Fistric
Jamie Oleksiak-Trevor Daley

Kari Lehtonen
Jack Campbell

Intrigue abounds throughout that roster as Stars fans will get a chance to see Jamie Benn center Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson in what figures to be Dallas' second line this season (or 1A, if you're so inclined). Ott raved about playing with Benn in the team's black/white scrimmage in Prince Edward Island, and this will be your first chance to see it for your own eyes this season.

The second line listed is one that has been speculated upon fortuitously since July 1st in Fiddler, Dvorak and Burish. It's as gritty a line as they come and it figures to be the Stars third line on opening weekend against the Chicago Blackhawks. Against a less than NHL lineup for Colorado it should get the chance to slow down the opposition as well as create offense.

Where as Tuesday night's lineup featured very few of the expected penalty killing forwards, this one features nearly all of them. Steve Ott, Adam Burish, Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak are all expected to collect significant time there in the regular season so this represents a chance to see what kind of damage those guys can do there, and Jamie Benn with his ability to create short handed offense is yet another option available.

Kari Lehtonen is expected to get the start but if Glen Gulutzan follows suit from Tuesday night, Jack Campbell could see his first action in front of a Dallas crowd and finish off this one.

Jamie Oleksiak should make his American Airlines Center debut as well, along with Jordie Benn (brother of Jamie) and Ryan Garbutt, who the Stars signed on July 1st. He's a graduate of Brown University and spent most of last year in the AHL with some time in the ECHL.

Sheldon Souray will also debut in a Dallas sweater and all eyes will be on his power play time, mobility, and shot from the point, should the occasion arise.

The Avalanche:

The Avs have been a young team over the last couple of years with elite talent coming up through the ranks that just hasn't quite arrived fully at the NHL level yet. They have some veteran talent peppered throughout and a couple of big chances in the goaltending department that figures to make a big difference for them. Their lineup may skew young tonight according to the Denver Post.

According the Denver Post...

A handful of proven veterans won't travel to Dallas, allowing many of the club's top prospects to receive maximum ice time.

"The players are excited," Avs coach Joe Sacco said. "Anytime you bump heads with each other for a week or so, it's always fun to go to it against someone else. And I'm looking forward to seeing some of our prospects, some of our young guys trying to make the club, play. I want to see them against other competition, somebody in a different logo than the Avs. We have six games to get ourselves ready for a very important season."


In the pipes they acquired Semyon Varlamov from the Washington Capitals and signed former Anaheim Duck G.S. Giguere to presumably be his backup. One or the other should be on display tonight in this, the Avs first preseason action.

Projections for the Avalance this season range nationally from worst in the West to a playoff bubble team when it's all said and done, so it will be interesting to see what kind of attitude they roll out tonight and what kind of structure we see from them.