The Colorado Avalanche is looking to end its three-game homestand on a high note on Friday as it hosts the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center.
Colorado has an 8-2-2 record this season and its 18 points put the club on top of the Central Division and in second place in the Western Conference. The Avs have dropped the first two contests of their homestay, falling 5-2 to the Anaheim Ducks last Saturday and 4-3 in overtime to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.
Nathan MacKinnon has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists)--and at least one in each game--this season to keep him on top of the scoring leaderboard for Colorado. Despite being out due to injury for the past three games, Mikko Rantanen is still in second place on the team with 12 points (five goals, seven assists). The Avs continue to get depth scoring as Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi and Andre Burakovsky have combined for 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) this year.
Dallas has played two more games than Colorado and currently holds a 5-8-1 record. The Stars defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Tuesday with Alexander Radulov recording four points in the contest. After the club travels to Denver for this game, it heads home to play two at American Airlines Center, including a rematch against the Avalanche on Tuesday. The teams will face off four times this season with each team hosting twice.
Friday's matchup is the first half of a back-to-back for Colorado, which plays at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Avs right wing Valeri Nichushkin was picked in the first round (10th overall) of the 2013 draft by the Dallas Stars and played his first four NHL seasons with the franchise… Stars right wing Blake Comeau played for Colorado from 2015-2018… Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop was born in Denver… Stars head coach Jim Montgomery was the head coach at the University of Denver from 2013-2018.
The Avs franchise holds a 69-51-21 all-time record against the Stars, with a 42-17-12 record as the home team. The Avs won three of the four matchups against Dallas in the 2018-19 season, including both games at Pepsi Center and a 3-1 victory on March 21 in Dallas.
The two teams have met four times in the playoffs since 1995, with each club winning two series. The Avs came out on top in the two most recent postseason matchups, including winning four of the five games played in the best-of-seven series in 2006.
Nathan MacKinnon tallied a team-high six points (two goals, four assists) against Dallas last season, closely followed by Mikko Ranatanen, who had five points (three goals, two assists). MacKinnon has 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 27 career contests against the Stars, his most versus one opponent.
Avs blueliner Nikita Zadorov is questionable for Friday's game after not practicing on Thursday due to a minor injury.
Mikko Rantenen remains week-to-week with a lower-body injury… Gabriel Landeskog is out of the lineup indefinitely with a lower-body injury… Colin Wilson did not practice on Thursday and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
SCOUTING THE STARS
The Stars are coming off of a four-game homestand where they defeated the Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators, and only lost (3-0) to the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday. Dallas owns a 5-8-1 record this season and a 2-5-0 mark as the visiting team. The club sits in fifth place in the Central Division with 11 points.
Dallas finished just ahead of the Avalanche last season with 93 points and a 43-32-7 record. As the Western Conference's second wild-card club, the Stars defeated the Nashville Predators in six games in the first round of the playoffs before being eliminated in Game 7 of the second round, falling to the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in double overtime.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Alexander Radulov
Alexander Radulov has eight points (four goals, four assists) this season, tying him for second on Dallas in scoring. Radulov also leads the club with a plus-5 rating on the season. The right wing scored a hat trick on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild and also tallied an assist to give him four points for the game, tying a career high.
Radulov scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in the four games against Colorado last season, making him the team's leading point-scorer versus the Avs. This is his third season in Dallas and his seventh overall in the NHL. In that time, he has played 396 career games and tallied 308 points (125 goals, 183 assists) with the Stars, Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens.
Nathan MacKinnon extended his point streak to 12 games in Wednesday's loss to the Florida Panthers--also stretching the Avs team record streak to being a campaign (since 1995-96). He has recorded at least one point in each regular season contest this year, making him the only NHL player to do so this season.
Colorado has scored 47 goals so far this year, putting the club in fifth place in the NHL for most goals for. The Washington Capitals are first in goals for, only six more than the Avs, and have played two more contests.
Joonas Donskoi scored the 50th goal of his NHL career on Wednesday. He now has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his first 12 games as a member of the Avalanche and 130 points (50 goals, 80 assists) in his 295 career contests.
Valeri Nichushkin will play for the first regular-season game against his old club since signing in Colorado in the offseason as a free agent--he did skate in preseason game against Dallas in Denver… The Avs hold the eighth-best penalty kill percentage in the league with 84.6 percent… Cale Makar is tied for first place in the league for the most points by a rookie, and he is one of two of the current leaders to have played in less than 13 games this season… Makar's nine assists are also tied for the most by a rookie this year… The Avalanche will finish its third back-to-back series of the season on Saturday in Arizona… Colorado is 2-0-0 in the first contest of a consecutive night set… The Avs will wear their navy third jerseys for the second time this season as part of their Division Rivalry series… The meeting against Dallas is Colorado's third versus a Central Division opponent this season (1-1-0).