Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche (8 PM CST)

It's the second night of a back-to-back in which the Dallas Stars travel to meet the Colorado Avalanche for the first time this season.

The Dallas Stars will look for a better start tonight versus the Colorado Avalanche than they had last night versus the Minnesota Wild.

Digging themselves into a three goal deficit isn't a recipe for success. But the team did show resilience and fought back to score four unanswered goals and looked to be on their way to their first win against a Central Division opponent this season.

Instead, they gave up the tying goal when Minnesota pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker and saw themselves lose in overtime for seemingly the millionth time this season. And the first win versus the Central remains elusive, though it's nice that they got a point out of a contest where they looked headed for a regulation loss early. (Let's just forget that the last 3-ish minutes of play didn't happen.)

The Stars didn't skate this morning in Colorado, so we're left to kind of guess at line combinations. As Lindy Ruff is wont to do, he shuffled the lines looking for some scoring chemistry last night. On the positive side, Ales Hemsky and Alex Goligoski got their first goals of the season, and Jyrki Jokipakka tallied his first NHL points as well. So the shuffling seemed to have worked.

We'll guess the lines will look something like this to start with at least, similar to last night:

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Erik Cole - Jason Spezza - Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Colton Sceviour
Shawn Horcoff - Vernon Fiddler - Travis Moen

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg
Trevor Daley - Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka - Jordie Benn/Jamie Oleksiak

Mike Heika thinks that Anders Lindback gets the start in net tonight, but with no morning skate that could change. He also said that Jordie Benn is to draw into the lineup, so I'd guess he would take the place of either Jokipakka or Oleksiak on that bottom pairing.

Ryan Garbutt will serve the second of his two game suspension tonight. With Sceviour healthy, the Stars reassigned Curtis McKenzie to the Texas Stars this morning.

The Colorado Avalanche will look to catch up to the Stars in the Central standings tonight, as they sit just two points behind the sixth place Stars in standings. Both the Stars and Avalanche are looking at Winnipeg in that last wild card spot, sitting five and seven points behind them respectively.

The Avs have been playing even hockey recently, going 5-5-0 in their last ten games. Like the Stars, Colorado has yet to win against a Central opponent, boasting a 0-3-2 record in divisional play.

With Semyon Varlamov on injured reserve due to a groin issue, the Avs have gotten surprisingly strong outings from rookie Calvin Pickard. He became the first rookie in NHL history to post back-to-back wins in relief appearances as his first two wins at the NHL level. Reto Berra has a 3.57 GAA and a .883 SV%, while Pickard is sporting a very shiny 2.24 GAA and .933 SV%.

Lines for the Avalanche based on morning skate are expected to be as follows:

Alex Tanguay - Matt Duchene - Ryan O'Reilly
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Jarome Iginla
Max Talbot - John Mitchell - Danny Briere
Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Tomas Vincour

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson
Tyson Barrie - Nate Guenin
Nick Holden - Zach Redmond

Calvin Pickard in net.

Someone gets their first win versus the Central tonight. But who will it be?