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Avalanche-Stars Preview @NHL

The Colorado Avalanche appear to be getting back on track after a dismal stretch. The Dallas Stars hope to begin doing the same thing when they host the Avalanche on Monday to open a three-game homestand.

Dallas (13-6-0) got off to a great start this season with wins in 11 of its first 13 games. The Stars have dropped four of six since, however, including a 5-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

Patrik Stefan and Jeff Halpern scored third-period goals 46 seconds apart to help Dallas tie the game at three, but Carolina's Justin Williams got the game-winner with less than seven minutes to go.

"We just can't give them that many opportunities, and we had some players really push to get the game back to even for us," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "Then we made a couple of key mistakes and ended up giving up the winning goal."

Dallas has stopped 110 of 122 (90.2 percent) opponent power-play opportunities this season, but two of those goals came Saturday. Marty Turco tied his season high with four goals allowed, dropping to 11-5 with a 2.12 goals-against average.

The netminder is 8-4 with three ties and a 2.20 GAA in 16 career games against the Avs and has helped Dallas win four straight regular-season meetings between the two teams. Darryl Sydor scored in overtime and added an assist to lift the Stars to a 3-2 win over Colorado on Oct. 4 in the season opener for both teams.

Mike Modano also scored in that win and has 25 goals and 28 assists in 52 career games versus the Avalanche, but the Stars' leading scorer has recorded just one goal in his last seven games overall.

Colorado (9-9-2) is trying to conclude its three-game road trip with its season-best third straight win following a season-high four-game losing streak. Joe Sakic scored in regulation Saturday and added the shootout winner to help the Avs beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1.

Sakic's first shootout goal in eight chances helped Colorado earn its first shootout win of the season. He leads the team with nine goals - one coming in the season-opening defeat to Dallas - 11 assists and 20 points.

It isn't clear whether slumping goalie Jose Theodore or backup Peter Budaj will be between the pipes on Monday. Budaj made 28 saves in his second straight start for Colorado Saturday, after Theodore allowed four goals on 26 shots in a 4-3 loss to San Jose on Wednesday.

Theodore is 5-6-1 with a 3.18 GAA this season. He has also had trouble beating Dallas, going 1-5-1 with two ties and a 2.63 GAA in nine career starts against the Stars.

When asked if there was a goaltending controversy, Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville didn't dispute it.

"Budaj is playing well," he said. "He has taken charge in goal, didn't give up many rebounds (Saturday night). But we'll take a look at it."

Despite its recent regular-season struggles against the Stars, Colorado has beaten them in the Western Conference quarterfinals the last two years, both times in five games.

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