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At the Rink: Stars at Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche will be seeking redemption Saturday when they play the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center (9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-SW).

The Avalanche allowed four goals in a 5:07 stretch of the third period Thursday in a 5-4 season-opening loss to the Minnesota Wild.

"I am very curious to see how we're going to play when we step on the ice at the start of the game," said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, who accentuated the positive in meetings the past two days, emphasizing the things the Avalanche did well to take a 4-1 lead into the third period.

"We did so many good things out there," he said. "The first 45 [minutes] were really good. We were sharp on the loose pucks, we were moving our feet, and that's what I wanted to show the guys. We also know we have to manage our game better. If we could go through a period of five minutes like we did the other day, now we know what we have to do.

"We need to bounce back, we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We need to remain even-keel."

The Avalanche won all five games against the Stars last season and are 9-1-0 against them the past two seasons.

"We haven't had a lot of luck and we need to change that," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "They're a dynamic team on the rush, they've got some dynamic players that can do some damage on the rush. We've played some loose hockey and some really good hockey and haven't been rewarded for it. It's really getting that 60 minutes where we can win a tight game from them."

The Stars opened with a 3-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Goalie Antti Niemi made 37 saves and had two assists in his Stars debut after an offseason trade from the San Jose Sharks.

Former Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya also played their first game with Dallas.

"I'm here to help in any way, on the ice and in the locker room, do what I'm told," Sharp said. "It's a great locker room to join, so I'm having fun. There are a lot of pieces in place and we had a big win to start the season, so hopefully we can build off that."

Sharp has moved from left wing, where he played most of his NHL career, to the right on a line with Valeri Nichushkin and center Jason Spezza.

"I like to think I can play all three forward positions," said Sharp, who had three shots on goal. "Wherever Lindy wants to put me, I'm happy to play."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Tyler Seguin

Valeri Nichushkin -- Jason Spezza -- Patrick Sharp

Antoine Roussel -- Mattias Janmark -- Ales Hemsky

Travis Moen -- Vernon Fiddler -- Patrick Eaves

Alex Goligoski -- John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya -- Jason Demers

Jyrki Jokipakka -- Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Colton Sceviour

Injured: Jack Campbell (hand)


Blake Comeau -- Matt Duchene -- Jarome Iginla

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Alex Tanguay

Mikko Rantanen -- Carl Soderberg -- Borna Rendulic

Cody McLeod -- John Mitchell -- Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin -- Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin -- Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov -- Nick Holden

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Scratched: Brandon Gormley, Mikhail Grigorenko, Brad Stuart

Injured: Jesse Winchester (concussion issues)

Status report: Neither team is expected to make lineup changes from their games Thursday.

Who's hot: Beauchemin had three assists against the Wild in his Avalanche debut. ... Varlamov is 9-3-2 against the Stars with a 2.99 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. ... Niemi made 37 saves in his Stars debut against the Penguins for his 33rd NHL shutout. He is 8-1-3 against the Avalanche with a 2.54 GAA and .910 save percentage.

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