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Avalanche aim to extend win streak vs. Stars

by Davis Harper /

STARS (2-2-0) at AVALANCHE (5-0-0)


Season series: The first of five meetings between these new divisional opponents. The Stars took two of three from the Avalanche in 2012-13, including a 5-2 victory in the final meeting on March 24 in Dallas.

Big story: The Colorado Avalanche are trying to prolong a historic 5-0-0 start. A win will bring the Avalanche, back in Denver after a three-game Eastern road trip, within one of the franchise record achieved in 1985-86, when the then-Quebec Nordiques went 7-0.

"We take it one day at a time and just say, `Why not? Why not us?'" said coach Patrick Roy. "We're working hard every day. We're humble. We know we're playing against good teams."

The Stars are looking to get back in the win column as their three-game road trip wraps up at the Pepsi Center.

Stars: It’s been an up-and-down campaign for the Dallas Stars. On the most recent road trip, the Stars started with a 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets, but followed it with a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. Justin Fontaine scored the fastest goal in Wild franchise history 12 seconds into the first period, and things went downhill from there. The Stars struggled to muster an attack, managing just 19 shots as they were outshot for the fourth time in four games.

However, coach Lindy Ruff said the defense was the unit most in need of improvement.

"I don't want to use tonight as an assessment because tonight would be a pretty poor night," Ruff said. "We have players that need to play better. Obviously, our defensemen didn't play well tonight. We had a couple of guys that played OK, but four of the six really struggled to move the puck."

Avalanche: Some of Roy’s goaltending magic must be rubbing off on his current pair of goaltenders. Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere are combining to allow just 0.80 goals per game thus far this season, far and away the NHL’s best mark despite playing some of the League’s more explosive offenses. Varlamov is 4-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .970 save percentage, including Saturday’s victory against Washington in which the former Capital made 40 saves.

“He’s playing outstanding,” Roy said of his starter. “What I like about Varly is that he’s under control. He’s always square to the shooters, he gets out of the net, he’s playing with a lot of confidence and he deserves it. The success that he has, he has done it on his own.”

Who’s hot: Tyler Seguin has been a rare bright spot in the Stars attack, with two goals and four assists in his last three games. … No. 1 draft pick Nathan MacKinnon only scored his first NHL goal in his fifth game against the Capitals, but the rookie leads Colorado in scoring with six points.

Injury report: Stars starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen was placed on the injured reserve Monday with a lower-body injury. Winger Scott Glennie is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

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