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Avalanche try to bounce back in Dallas

by Deborah Francisco

AVALANCHE (7-5-0) AT STARS (8-3-0)

TV: ALTITUDE (HD), FS-Southwest

LAST 10: Colorado 6-4-0; Dallas 7-3-0

Season Series: This is the first meeting of four between the Avalanche and Stars this season. They split four games last season, with Colorado winning the first two games and Dallas winning the second pair.

Big Story: The streaking Stars sit atop the Pacific Division standings and will face the Avalanche fresh off a five-day break. The Avs go back on the road, where they've been far more successful than they have been at home.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: Colorado has struggled to win at home this season, a trend that continued on Wednesday with a 4-1 loss to the Coyotes on Wednesday night. The Avalanche's only home win so far was a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 30. But it was followed by a 4-1 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday that was anything but pretty. Colorado tallied only one goal, late in the second period.

"It's hard to win hockey games when you're not scoring goals," Avs forward Milan Hejduk said. "We just have to keep playing the same way and eventually we'll start scoring goals.

"When you put 40 plus shots at net every night, at some point you need to score more goals than one."

According to the Denver Post, the Avalanche will shift their lines slightly on Friday in an effort to develop more offense. Matt Duchene will play on the left wing with Paul Stastny and Hejduk. TJ Galiardi will play center to Joakim Lidstrom and David Jones while Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and Daniel Winnik will stay together on the third line.

Stars: In the Stars' last nine games, only one team has defeated them - the Los Angeles Kings. L.A. beat the Stars twice in the month of October, snapping a five-game winning streak on Oct. 22 with a 1-0 win in Los Angeles and 5-3 in Dallas five days later. They bounced back with a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

Much of the Stars' recent success has to do with the standout play of Kari Lehtonen, who made 31 saves on Saturday for the win in a game when were outshot 32-23 by the Devils. Lehtonen improved to 8-1-0, earning NHL Second Star of the Month honors for the month of October. The Finnish netminder concluded the month with a .947 save percentage and a 1.75 goals-against average -- the best October numbers Lehtonen has posted in his career.

"It was a pretty nice game to play for me," Lehtonen said. "They got some shots, but I was able to see most of them and I think our penalty killing was really good too. It was a tight game and we kind of played the same way the Devils usually play, and we were able to get the one crappy goal at the end."

Who's Hot : Dallas's new bench boss, Glen Gulutzan, boasts the best-ever record for a Stars coach through his first 11 contests.

Injury Report: Brandon Yip, who scored a pair of goals in Colorado's last meeting with the Stars last April, remains out with a broken forearm.

Stat Pack: The Avs are averaging a league-worst 1.2 goals at home, where they are 1-4-0. However, they have 24 goals in their seven road games and own the League's best road record at 6-1-0. Colorado has scored on eight of its last 14 road power plays.

Puck Drop - "Looking at the first 10-game segment, if you'd asked any one of us at the start of the season if we'd take 7-3, we'd all sign up for that, and here we are at 8-3, that's a pretty good month," Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said. "We're pretty happy with our start. It's a process, the whole season, you want to keep revving things up so you're playing your best hockey in March and April. Last year, we kind of tailed off a little bit, but that's going to be a focus of ours every day, just putting the time and work in, play with pace so everything becomes a habit."

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