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At the Rink blog

Avalanche look to tighten defense against Stars

Tuesday, 10.15.2013 / 4:45 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

DENVER -- While the Colorado Avalanche have gotten off to a 5-0 start for the first time since they were the Quebec Nordiques in 1994-95, coach Patrick Roy said not all is perfect with his team heading into Tuesday night's game against the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche were outshot 19-7 in the second period of a 5-1 win Saturday in Washington when Semyon Varlamov was in goal. They were outshot 15-6 in the second period of their Oct. 10 game in Boston, a 2-0 win behind the goaltending of Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

"The last two games, I think we gave up too much in the second period both times," Roy said Tuesday. "It was at the end of our trip when we had the lead. Things like that happen. We'd like to cut down a bit on shots. The chances, we gave a bit too many, though not as bad as it appears.

"The thing we've been doing well is we've put pressure on the other team, forced the shooters to take a quick shot. Sometimes, they don't take the quality shots they love. The thing I like, though, our [defense] did a really good job getting those rebounds in front of our goalies. They don't have a second or third chance after the first shot."

Varlamov will take a 4-0 record with a 1.00 goals-against average and .970 save percentage into the game against the Stars, a team he has had trouble with in previous seasons. He has a 1-3-2 record in six career games with a 3.98 average and .864 save percentage.

Dan Ellis, who signed with the Stars as a free agent on July 5, will make his second consecutive start in goal because Kari Lehtonen is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Ellis went the distance Saturday in the Stars' 5-1 loss in Minnesota when Dallas was outshot 36-19. He's played extremely well in six career appearances against the Avalanche, posting a 5-1 record against them with a 2.01 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

Here are the projected lineups for the game Tuesday:

STARS

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Rich Peverley

Ray Whitney -- Cody Eakin -- Alex Chiasson

Antoine Roussel -- Shawn Horcoff -- Erik Cole

Ryan Garbutt -- Vernon Fiddler -- Lane MacDermid

Alex Goligoski -- Sergei Gonchar

Brenden Dillon -- Stephane Robidas

Trevor Daley -- Jordie Benn

Dan Ellis

Jack Campbell

Injured: Kari Lehtonen (lower body)

Scratches: Kevin ConnautonValeri Nichushkin 

AVALANCHE

Ryan O'Reilly -- Matt Duchene -- Steve Downie

Gabriel Landeskog -- Paul Stastny -- Alex Tanguay

Jamie McGinn -- Nathan MacKinnon -- PA Parenteau

Cody McLeod -- John Mitchell -- Patrick Bordeleau

Jan Hejda -- Erik Johnson

Andre Benoit -- Cory Sarich

Ryan Wilson --Nate Guenin

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Injured: None

Scratches: Tyson Barrie, Marc-Andre Cliche, Nick Holden

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory