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Stars Face One Of NHL’s Hottest Lines As They Take On Avalanche In Mile High City

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The defensive task is big tonight for the injury-riddled blueline of the Stars.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche have one of the hottest lines in the NHL right now. Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen centered by Nathan MacKinnon have combined for 37 goals, and two of them have over 30 points on the season already. It’s made their lineup a bit top-heavy in terms of offense, but has also led them to the highest goals for per game in the league (3.77).

Compare that to the Stars top line that has 23 goals combined. As much as people have complained about depth scoring for the Stars, they’ve actually gotten scoring from all over the lineup. The problem really is that they haven’t scored enough, ranking 21st in goals for per game at 2.87, nearly a full goal less than the Avalanche.

Luckily, the team defense for the Stars is still a top seven unit despite missing almost a full contingent of their top six at the NHL level (John Klingberg, Marc Methot, Connor Carrick, and Stephen Johns). However, a lot of that recent success has been due to goaltending from Ben Bishop, who is now on injured reserve.

To say injuries are an obstacle to the Dallas Stars right now would be an understatement.

Somehow, though, they’ve got to find a way to win, especially against Central Division opponents. With both teams playing last night, and both winning, tonight’s game is likely to be choppy. Heavy legs could mean a tough start until both teams can get into the flow again. It’s also more likely that the Stars will have to out-score the Avalanche than we see a 2-1 game.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Without a morning skate, we’ll have to wait until media availability to know if there are any changes to the lineup. It’s possible that the Stars might put Julius Honka in on the backend for a pair of fresh legs. With Bishop injured, it’s possible the Stars ride Anton Khudobin tonight, though that would have him playing in three games in four nights. If they’re hesitant to start him due to the schedule or because Bishop’s injury occurred in a second half of a back-to-back, then we’ll see the NHL debut of Landon Bow this season.

Here was the lineup from last night’s win:

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Devin Shore - Jason Spezza - Roope Hintz
Valeri Nichushkin - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Mattias Janmark - Jason Dickinson - Blake Comeau

Esa Lindell - Miro Heiskanen
Gavin Bayreuther - Roman Polak
Joel Hanley - Taylor Fedun

Anton Khudobin in net.

Colorado Avalanche Lineup

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - Alexander Kerfoot - Colin Wilson
Sheldon Dries - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert
Sven Andrighetto - J.T. Compher/Vladislav Kamenev - Gabriel Bourque

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov - Patrik Nemeth

With Philipp Grubauer playing last night, expect Semyon Varlamov to start tonight.

Broadcast Information

Puck drop: 8:00 PM CST
TV: FSSW+ (check your channel guides to find it!)
Radio: 1310 AM / 96.7 FM The Ticket
Online: theticket.com / Fox Sports Go app