The Colorado Avalanche are firing on all cylinders and have managed to win six of their last seven games. With the number one and two point-getters in the league, Dallas will need to play a complete game to win on the road.
Radek Faksa played what Jim Montgomery declared to be his best game earlier this month, against a Boston team with what many would consider the 2nd best line in hockey. Faksa held them scoreless, shutting down their top three in a 1-0 overtime win. Odds are that he will be out there against Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and the unlikely NHL point leader Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen’s 36 points puts him atop of the league, with MacKinnon right behind him with 33. Gabriel Landeskog has 25 points, 14 of those being goals. The three have combined for a whopping 94 points in just 22 games.
Stars leader in points, Tyler Seguin, has 22 points, while Benn and Rads have 18 points and 8 goals apiece. This is no slouch of a line by any means, but injury bugs have hurt the Stars early this year. With Klingberg, Methot, Johns, AND newcomer Connor Carrick out on the back end, there has been a rotating cast almost every night. Mix that in with the recent Bishop injury, and the Stars barely have half of their original roster.
Injuries aside, the Stars have still managed to pick up 26 points in 23 games, putting them just behind the Avalanche’s 28 points in 22 games. Getting points in games during these tough stretches will be critical come May, when the giants of the Central Division battle for playoff positions. This game would propel the Stars ahead of Winnipeg and the Avs, although the Jets have played two fewer games. If the playoffs started today, Stars would be in, but picking up some more W’s would be comforting.
The Stars played the Avs five times last year; they won two and lost three of them. They won one out of the three games at the Pepsi Center, with one being a 7-2 blowout. Tyler Seguin and Brett Ritchie scored two goals apiece.
Dallas will need to play their game and control the pace of play, or the Avs’ first line can run away with their quick scoring. Stars have split their last eight games with four wins and four losses, but they still managed to pick up nine points.
Khudobin will start in net tonight.
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