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Colorado Heads to Dallas for second of Back-to-Back

Avalanche defeated the Wild 2-0 on Tuesday night

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

The Colorado Avalanche looks to continue its strong preseason tonight as it faces the Dallas Stars one last time before opening the season against its Central Division foe on Oct. 15.

Colorado is coming off a 2-0 shutout victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday in Denver and will be playing its second back-to-back set of exhibition play. The Avs also played on consecutive days Sept. 27-28, facing the Wild in St. Paul before hosting the Stars.

The Avalanche has yet to lose in the preseason, outscoring opponents 13-4 in four contests.

"We want to win every game we play, exhibition or not. That has to be our mindset," said Avs head coach Jared Bednar. "We got to believe that we can do it, and we have to have that mindset that we're going into the game with a purpose, and that is winning the game. Even though we're sprinkling guys in the lineup and seeing how guys react in certain situations. Our goal is still to win the game. That is how you become a winning team. You got to strive to do that every night."

Colorado beat Dallas 4-2 last Wednesday after Rene Bourque, Mike Sislo, Mikhail Grigorenko and Ben Smith scored, and goaltenders Jeremy Smith and Spencer Martin split the win in net.

Calvin Pickard will likely get the start in this contest as Bednar said Monday that Semyon Varlamov would play two of the final three preseason games. Since Varlamov made 30 saves in the win on Tuesday against Minnesota, he is doubtful to appear in the crease against Dallas in order to get rest for the finale on Saturday versus the Los Angeles Kings.

Pickard made 22 saves on 24 shots in 40 minutes of action against the Stars in his lone outing.

Dallas is coming off a 2-1 shootout win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and is in a stretch where it plays four games in six days. Patrick Eaves netted the lone regulation goal for the Stars against the Panthers, while Denis Gurianov won the contest in the fifth round of the tiebreaker.

With 30 players currently on Colorado's preseason squad, Bednar will give each a chance to prove themselves in the last days before final 23-man rosters are finalized on Oct. 11. The Avs coach said Monday that many of the players that didn't play on Tuesday versus Minnesota would suit up in the second game at Dallas. Mikko Rantanen, John Mitchell and Blake Comeau are the only question marks after being held to limited practice recently because of various injuries.

Game time is at 6:30 p.m. MT, and it will be broadcasted live on the radio on AM 950 in Denver and streamed online at

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