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Stars Look for Redemption as Road Trip Starts in Colorado

Early afternoon hockey throws off everybody’s rhythms.

OK. Maybe not the Colorado Avalanche. But certainly the Dallas Stars, who spent much of Sunday’s home game sleepwalking their way into being shut out 4-0. Not a nice way to end the teams All Star break homestand.

The team played a lackluster game, and the fans that did show up followed suit.

Yep – those reverse retros suck. Not sure that there’s much to be gained by dwelling on anyone’s performance. At least the Superbowl lived up to the hype.

In a unique twist of fate, Radek Faksa was in no way responsible for any defensive lapses, and his non-existent contributions on offense did not play any part in the shutout. John Klingberg didn’t make any egregious turnovers, and if anything, the anemic power play demonstrated a possible Dallas Stars future without him running the first unit.

Finally, could we be getting to the point where Jake Oettinger is recognized as the de facto 1A to Braden Holtby’s 1B? Neither has stepped up to seize the spot, but Oettinger’s goals against at least have the appearance of high danger scoring chances.

All of which is just a bunch of words demonstrating that its time to put that debacle in the rear view mirror. If anything, use it as motivation to hit the ice in Denver on Tuesday with something to prove – against the team that, if playoffs are in the Stars future, is their likely first round opponent.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Jamie Benn (14) – Tyler Seguin (91) – Denis Gurianov (34)
Michael Raffl (18) – Luke Glendening (11) – Joel Kiviranta (25)
Tanner Kero (64) – Jacob Peterson (40) – Alexander Radulov (47)

Ryan Suter (20) – Miro Heiskanen (4)
Esa Lindell (23) – John Klingberg (3)
Thomas Harley (55) – Jani Hakanpaa (2)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Braden Holtby (70)

Radek Faksa and Andrej Sekera are back skating, but will likely not draw in.

Colorado Avalanche Lineup

Gabriel Landeskog (92) – Nathan MacKinnon (29) – Mikko Rantanen (96)
Andre Burakovsky (95) – Nazem Kadri (91) – Valeri Nichushkin (13)
Logan O’Connor (25) – Alex Newhook (18) – J.T. Compher (37)
Darren Helm (43) – Tyson Jost (17) – Nicolas Aube-Kubel (16)

Devon Toews (7) – Cale Makar (8)
Jack Johnson (3) – Samuel Girard (49)
Erik Johnson (6) – Kurtis MacDermid (56)

Pavel Francouz (39)
Darcy Kuemper (35)

Keys to the Game

Break down the Avalanche Layers. Dallas couldn’t find any open ice in their transition game on Sunday. There was a lack of speed to the Dallas game that made the forecheck a step late and kept Hintz and Gurianov from turning the corner when moving up ice. The Colorado defense is vulnerable to pressure, but the Stars need to supply it.

Goaltending. Darcy Keumper hardly broke a sweat on Sunday, and it looked like Braden Holtby was fighting the puck. This should be, at worst, a break even matchup for Dallas.

History. Dallas has won five of the last six games in this matchup with the Avalanche. The Stars know that they can beat this team, but they need to play like it.