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Preview: Colorado Avalanche @ Dallas Stars (7:30pm CST)

Fox Sports Southwest Proper this evening @ 7:37pm local time, or we’ll see you at the AAC.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars enjoyed, if that's possible, the company of the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale as a couple of offensively challenged teams came together and- surprise- combined for five goals.

One was a shorthanded goal. One was a meaningless penalty shot. One was on the power play. The game winner was an empty-netter.

Only a single, honest-to-the-hockey-gods, 5-on-5 goal was managed- By the hosts, not our heroes. Even-strength is the measuring stick when utilizing nearly any advanced predictive stat the sport has to offer. The Stars aren't scoring those kinds of goals in any threatening quantities, but they do boast their second two-game winning streak of the season heading into this one tonight.

Their opponent? Another offensively challenged team like themselves in the form of the Colorado Avalanche.

The victory in Glendale pushed the Stars point percentage slightly over .500 and brought their totals on the season to just 15 wins against 21 losses. The Avs sit 12-21-1 and are almost assuredly out of the playoff hunt at this point.

Dallas looks to get Cody Eakin back tonight, his suspension served. Jason Dickinson was sent back down to Texas yesterday while Patrick Sharp and Antoine Roussel continue to rehab and inch their way back- Neither will be available tonight.

The Avalanche get a lot of pretty frank press these days as being "the word team in the NHL"- As always, the detail information out there paints a more nuanced picture. Their worst problems, for isntance, seem to be more at home than on the road where they find themselves this evening. They've a nine-game losing streak at home, sure, but they're 5-4 on the road in their last nine, including a win in Chicago their last time out.

So it's not like they don't rear up and surprise people in their building. In fact, in those five wins in their last nine road games they've allowed a total of just eight goals.

And then there's Dallas' abysmal record against these speedy Avalanche in recent years- Though that seems in danger of turning around with a 2-1-0 start against them already this season, the most recent a 3-0 shutout earlier this month in which Kari Lehtonen faced just 23 shots.

Colorado got that big win before the Christmas break against the Blackhawks and looked like the Stars- hoping to pivot into the season's second half coming out of the break after a nice win. The Stars managed to convert theirs into a two-game streak ('streak') right out of the gate Tuesday night but the Avs were not so lucky, watching the Flames hang six on them en-route to a 6-3 smashing in Denver.

Consider this quote about such defeats:

“If you look at the last two or three weeks, the only wins we’ve had is after we’ve been blown out,” captain Landeskog told media last week. “That’s not good enough. We can’t be like that."

The Avs went 0-for-6 on the power play Tuesday night and have scored on just ONE of their last 30 power play opportunities. The Stars will want to make sure not to be the ones to reverse that trend tonight.

Their lineup-

  • Landeskog-Mackinnon-Rantanen
  • Grigorenko-Duchene-Bourque
  • Comeau-Mitchell-Iginla
  • Martinsen-Soderberg-McLeod

  • Tyutin-Barrie
  • Wiercioch-Zadorov
  • Beauchemin-Gelinas

  • Calvin Pickard
  • Spencer Martin

In other words- What looks like the same group of talented offensive threats that have scorched the Stars many times before. Trap game.

Erik Johnson, Joe Colborne and Semyon Varlamov highlight the injured list for the Avs.

From Stars PR:

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

The Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche meet on Thursday night for the fourth of five meetings between the two clubs during the 2016-17 regular season. The Stars have a 2-1-0 record against the Avalanche this season with a 1-0-0 record at American Airlines Center. Dallas is riding a two-game home winning streak against the Avalanche (2-0-0) and has won four of the last five games against Colorado (4-1-0). In the most recent meeting of the 2016-17 season, Dallas shutout Colorado, 3-0, at Pepsi Center on Dec. 3. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped all 23 shots he faced and forward Tyler Seguin registered a game-high two points (1-1=2). Forward Patrick Eaves lit the lamp (1-0=1) and forward Curtis McKenzie recorded the game-winning tally (1-0=1). On special teams over the three contests, Dallas is 33.3% (5-for-15) on the power play and 77.8% (7-of-9) on the penalty kill. Tyler Seguin leads all Stars skaters with six points (3-3=6) this season against the Avalanche.

THE ONCE AND FUTURE KLING

Stars defenseman John Klingberg lit the lamp (1-0=1) on Tuesday night against the Arizona Coyotes and now has points in four consecutive games (1-3=4). His four-game point streak marks his longest of the season, besting his three points (0-3=3) over three games from Nov. 6 - 10. Klingberg's goal against the Coyotes marked the blueliner's first tally since Nov. 3, when he tied his career-high with two goals (2-0=2) against the Blues. He now has recorded a point in six of his last nine contests (1-5=6). The blueliner leads all Stars defensemen and ranks fifth on the club with 18 points (3-15=18) in 34 games this season. Additionally, Klingberg ranks first on Dallas with 22:56 time on ice per game and third on the club with 15 assists. In 12 career games against the Colorado Avalanche, the native of Gothenburg, Sweden has three points (1-2=3).