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Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche Preview: Lineups, Storylines, Game Time, and How to Watch

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It's nearly time to wave a cheerful goodbye to an awful January- Check them out on FSSW @ 7:00pm CST tonight.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars got back on track for the time being after dispatching the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 Thursday night at American Airlines Center.

Dispatch may be too strong a word, and Lindy Ruff said he would have liked to see his club slam the door on an Oiler team mired in a rough stretch.

"Coming off a disappointing trip for us, I thought we came out and played a good first period. We had some opportunities to put the game away and didn't and at the end they were still hanging around," he told media. It could have been dangerous."

It wasn't dangerous enough for Edmonton in the end, but the embodiment of danger during his tenure here in Dallas arrives in the form of the Colorado Avalanche.

That would be those Avalanche that have defeated the Stars in seven straight going all the way back to December of 2013. The Avalanche that have gone 10-1-0 against Dallas since Lindy Ruff and Tyler Seguin arrived on the scene.

Alone that's enough to fear the bad juju of this one, given the way the Stars have performed of late, but throw in the fact that Colorado is actually one of the better teams in the division right now as well.

Sure, they're 5th in the division but as of Friday afternoon they'd chased and caught the Predators, they'd put their goal differential into positive territory, and they were carrying with them a 12-5-2 record into their game with St. Louis.

In a "what have you done for me lately?" that .632 point percentage maintained over the course of two solid months means the Avs are steadily creeping up for real. Lately they've done by keeping pucks out of the back of their net.

They held Buffalo to one on Wednesday, Winnipeg to one on Monday, The Blue Jackets to two last Saturday and the Devils to none last Thursday. While the Stars were beginning their swoon the Avs enjoyed a three-game win streak early in January against the Blues, Kings and Predators. Salty.

Last night their magic continued on top of the aforementioned stats- Like the Stars used to, the Avs just found a way to win after a night full of frustration. With their netminder pulled and time ticking down, they found a game-tying tallie with under a minute to go and then scored the only goal in the shootout to extend their dominance of late.

And- Again... They allowed just one goal. They've allowed five goals in their last five games. Total. They're just not getting scored on right now. Challenge extended to Jamie Benn's group.

To add to their last minute heroics, fun plane ride and hot, hot streak- They get Erik Johnson back on defense tonight as a fresh body and yet another boost.

Their lineup as it has been lately, or something close-

Tanguay-Mackinnon-Duchene
Landeskog-Soderberg-Comeau
Martinsen-Grigorenko-Iginla
McLeod-Mitchell-Skille

Beauchemin-Zadorov
Holden-Barie
Redmond-Bigras

Varlamov played last night and served up a beauty, so he could get the nod again tonight- If not it will be rookie Calvin Pickard, who's had a fantastic start to the year with a .922 save percentage and a 2.40 GAA in seven appearances- Oddly enough, only having recorded three decisions in the batch. (2-1-0).

There wasn't much to glean from Stars practice Friday and several veteran players had maintenance days. Check back with us tomorrow for updates on line combinations and a starter in net.

From Stars PR:

WHAT TO WATCH
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH
The Dallas Stars play the second game of a three-game homestand at American Airlines Center on Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars and Avalanche meet for the second of four games during the 2015-16 campaign, with Colorado owning a 1-0-0 series advantage. Dallas has collected points in 10 of last 13 games played against the Avalanche at American Airlines Center (6-3-4). In the first meeting of the season on Oct. 10 at Pepsi Center, the Avalanche defeated the Stars, 6-3, in the second game of the regular season for Dallas. Forward Cody Eakin tallied two goals (2-0=2) and defenseman Jason Demers registered two assists (0-2=2) for the Stars.

"IT'S JOKIPAKKA TIME!!!"
Defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka tallied a goal (1-0=1) on Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers, his second goal of the season and the second of his NHL career. The goal also marked Jokipakka's first game-winning goal of his career in the second period of Thursday's game. Originally selected by the Dallas Stars in the seventh round (195th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, he has tallied six points this season (2-4=6) and has 16 points (2-14=16) in 86 career NHL games. The native of Tampere, Finland represented his country last summer at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic, finishing with two goals (2-0=2) with a +2 plus/minus rating in eight tournament games. In five career games against Colorado, he has registered one assist (0-1=1).