The Colorado Avalanche aims to snap a three-game skid and move into second place in the Central Division when it plays the Dallas Stars at home on Tuesday.
Colorado lost a tough one in overtime on Friday to the Pittsburgh Penguins, falling 4-3. Matt Calvert scored with a deflection off a shot by Cale Makar during a 6-on-5 with 31 seconds left in the third period, but the Avs couldn't capitalize in extra time. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog also scored a goal each in the contest, while Samuel Girard added two assists in his 200th NHL game.
The Stars lost 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, with Jamie Benn tallying Dallas' only marker and goalie Anton Khudobin stopping 24-of-26 shots. Before the defeat, the team ripped off six straight wins from Dec. 28 to Jan. 9.
Tuesday's matchup at Pepsi Center is the fourth and final matchup of the regular season for the division rivals.
Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Valeri Nichushkin was drafted in the first round (No. 10 overall) in 2013 by the Dallas Stars and played four seasons with the franchise… Stars forward Blake Comeau played for Colorado from 2015-2018… Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop was born in Denver.
The Stars have won the first three meetings in 2019-20, the last one coming in a 3-2 shootout on Dec. 28 in Dallas. J.T. Compher and Ian Cole scored for Colorado that night before Stars forward Denis Gurianov tied the game early in the third period. Philipp Grubauer saved 38-of-40 shots through 65 minutes. Dallas also won 2-1 in Denver on Nov. 1 and 4-1 at home on Nov. 5. The Avs took three of four contests against its Central Division rival last year.
The Avalanche holds a 69-53-22 mark all-time against Dallas, with a 46-35-18 record since moving to Denver for the 1995-96 campaign. Colorado went 11-1-0 against the Stars from Oct. 13, 2015 to Jan. 23, 2016. Nathan MacKinnon has 28 points (10 goals and 18 assists) in 30 games against Dallas, the most he's tallied versus one opponent.
The Avalanche is expected to use the same lineup for the game against the Stars, but head coach Jared Bednar has yet to announce a starting goalie for the game.
Andre Burakovsky missed practice on Monday with an illness… Joonas Donskoi (concussion protocol) skated on his own for the second straight day on Monday, and head coach Jared Bednar said Donskoi is improving… Colin Wilson (lower body) is out indefinitely.
SCOUTING THE STARS
The Stars (26-15-4) are in second place in the Central Division with 56 points, one point ahead of the Avalanche in the standings. Dallas' 2-1 loss to San Jose snapped its six-game win streak, a run that saw the team give up just eight goals and fend off 18-of-20 short-handed situations.
Stars games tend to be low scoring overall. Dallas has averaged 2.64 goals a game this season, seventh-fewest, and allowed a league-low rate of 2.33. The team's power play has converted on 20.2 percent of its chances (14th best in the NHL) while also owning the third-best penalty-kill unit (tied) at 83.5 percent.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Ben Bishop
Ben Bishop has a .928 save percentage, fourth-highest among goalies who have started at least 20 games. He's won his last three starts, posting a combined .961 save percentage and 1.30 goals-against average.
Since joining the Stars in 2017-18, Bishop is 4-4-0 against the Avalanche, with a .933 save percentage and 2.10 goals-against average. The 6-foot-7 goalie started two of the first three meetings versus Colorado this year and won both games, the second of which in a shootout.
Samuel Girard, who notched two more assists on Friday, is tied for the most assists in the NHL since Dec. 31 with the New York Rangers' Artemi Panarin (11).
Matt Calvert's goal on Friday, his 11th of the season, gives him 23 points on the year (11 goals, 12 assists). The 10th-year pro needs four more points surpass his career high set last season with Colorado (11 goals, 15 assists).
With 162 goals for and 134 goals against, the Avalanche has a plus-28 goal differential this season, the best in the Western Conference.
With a win over the Stars, the Avalanche can earn its 57th point and move into second place in the Central Division… J.T. Compher has two goals in three games against Dallas so far this year, while Cale Makar and Matt Nieto both have two assists in the season series... Since Oct. 14, Nathan MacKinnon is tied for the second most points in the NHL with 60 (26 goals, 34 assists). He ranks tied for fourth overall this season in scoring with 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists)... Cale Makar earned his 24th assist in Friday's game, giving him the second-most helpers among rookies, doing so in eight fewer games than Vancouver's Quinn Hughes (28 points… The Avs will wear their navy third jerseys for the ninth time this season as part of their Division Rivalry series.