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Colorado Prepares to Host Dallas

It is the final meeting between the Central Division rivals this season

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche wraps up its season set with the Dallas Stars and looks for its first win in the series in a Division Rivalry matchup at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

The Stars will be the second Central Division club to finish its series with the Avs, as Colorado already wrapped up its set with the Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-0).

Before the matchup though, the Avalanche has put a focus on improving different areas of its game. Colorado had its second straight day of practice on Monday, a rarity at this point of the year, and worked on both 5-on-5 and special-teams drills.

"It is nice to get a couple days for practice in the middle of the season. We know our schedule is going to be even harder after that," said defenseman Nikita Zadorov. "March is packed in there, February, same thing. Just regroup you know, fix our mistakes. We have been talking, we have been talking a lot. A couple of video meetings about that, how to improve our game, so I think we will be ready to go for tomorrow."

It is the second outing of the homestand for Colorado, which opened the stay with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. The homestand, which is tied for the longest of the season, will also feature visits from the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, St. Louis Blues on Saturday and Detroit Red Wings next Monday.

"It's a huge four points for us. All those Central Division teams, they're all fighting for playoffs," said Zadorov. "Dallas is a really good team, we know how to play against them. We have a good history in the past, so I think as long as we control our game, how we play, we're going to be fine."

Friday's game was the first of the season that Joonas Donskoi missed after he suffered a high hit at the New York Rangers last Tuesday and is in concussion protocol. He skated for the first time on Sunday and extended his time on ice before the team's session on Monday.

"Yesterday he did about 20, 20-plus minutes and today he went 30-plus," said head coach Jared Bednar. "He had sort of an off day on the game day where he hasn't feeling great. Then we gave him a day off and then he came back with two good work days here now, so hopefully he is on the road to recovery sooner rather than later."

Andre Burakovsky also missed the practice with an illness. Down to 11 healthy forwards, defenseman Mark Barberio took Burakovsky's spot during 5-on-5 drills on a line with Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin, although he is not expected to be in that spot against Dallas on Tuesday.

Practice Line Combinations

Forwards

92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
44 Mark Barberio - 91 Nazem Kadri - 13 Valeri Nichushkin
11 Matt Calvert - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 83 Matt Nieto
17 Tyson Jost - 37 J.T. Compher - 81 Vladislav Kamenev

Defensemen

49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
16 Nikita Zadorov - 28 Ian Cole

Goaltenders

31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

Did Not Practice: Andre Burakovsky (illness), Joonas Donskoi (concussion protocol), Colin Wilson (lower body, out indefinitely)

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