Preview: Avalanche at Stars
The Colorado Avalanche have fizzled following their torrid start while the Dallas Stars are finding their footing after stumbling out of the gate amid lofty expectations. The Avalanche are dealing with injuries to a pair of their star forwards and will try to put the brakes on a four-game losing streak when they visit the resurgent Stars on Tuesday night.
Colorado opened the season on a 10-game point streak (8-0-2) but has managed just six goals during the four-game slide that included losses to Dallas (2-1) and Arizona. "At the end of the day, they’re pros. Be engaged, be ready to play. They weren’t,” coach Jared Bednar said after a 3-0 shutout versus the Coyotes. “They have to decide whether they want to come to play. I can’t do it for them.” Dallas has won three in a row and six of seven, sandwiching a pair of three-goal home victories around the win at Colorado as it claws its way back from a season-opening 1-7-1 start. "We were starting to play well and not necessarily getting results," goaltender Ben Bishop said after Saturday's 4-1 win over Montreal. "The last few games, not only are we kind of finding our game, but also finding a way to win at the end of the game or in the third period instead of finding a way to lose."
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), FS Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (8-4-2): Colorado has won once since high-scoring forward Mikko Rantanen suffered a lower-body injury that has him listed as week-to-week and dropped all three games since captain Gabriel Landeskog was sidelined indefinitely -- also with a lower-body injury. Despite missing two-thirds of the potent No. 1 line, Nathan MacKinnon set a franchise record with a point in each of the first 13 games, a streak that finally came to a halt in Arizona. MacKinnon scored against Dallas on Friday and has four goals and 12 points in the last 10 meetings.
ABOUT THE STARS (7-8-1): With the exception of a hat trick by Alexander Radulov last week, Dallas' top line has been held in check this season, but the No. 2 unit line is picking up the slack. Roope Hintz scored twice in Colorado to boost his team-leading total to nine goals and linemate Denis Gurianov netted a pair Saturday to give the Russian rookie four tallies and five points over his last five games. "Roope broke out last year, Denis is what we wanted and what we hoped," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "Those two are special to watch right now."
1. Bishop was 1-2-0 with four goals allowed in three appearances versus Colorado last season.
2. Avalanche G Philipp Grubauer, who suffered the loss Friday, turned aside 44 of 45 shots in his lone start versus Dallas last season.
3. Stars D Andrej Sekera, who has missed the past three games, could return to the lineup Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Stars 3, Avalanche 2