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Preview: Avalanche at Stars

Denis Gurianov to make NHL debut for Dallas; Jeremy Smith in goal for Colorado

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (22-55-3) AT STARS (33-37-11)

8 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-SW, NHL.TV


Avalanche team scope

Forward Mikko Rantanen is questionable for the Colorado Avalanche after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury. Rantanen is tied for the Colorado lead in goals with Matt Duchene at 18. The Avalanche are second in the NHL in faceoff winning percentage at (53.8) behind the Anaheim Ducks (54.7 percent). Colorado will finish the season with its highest faceoff percentage in team history, besting its previous high of 51.6 percent set in 2011-12. Rookie Tyson Jost scored his first NHL goal in a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. "It was definitely great to get that off my chest, and that was a great play by my linemates to get that pass over," Jost said after the game. "It's special. It's nice, obviously, to be in front of the home crowd. Hopefully there's going to be many more of those at home and on the road too. I was just disappointed we couldn't get that win." Goaltender Jeremy Smith is expected to start with Colorado playing back-to-back games to finish the season.


Stars team scope

Forward Denis Guiranov, selected by the Dallas Stars with the No. 12 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut after being recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League on Friday. "I'm very happy that I'm here," Gurianov said. "I will try hard to help the team." Gurianov has 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 54 AHL games and helped Russia win the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in January. Forward Mark McNeill also was recalled and will make his Stars debut after being acquired by Dallas from the Chicago Blackhawks prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. "I don't think many people in the organization have seen me up close yet, so it's a chance to make an impression," McNeill said. "I'm excited about that opportunity." Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is expected to start.


Avalanche projected lineup

Sven Andrighetto -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Rene Bourque

Matt Nieto -- J.T. Compher -- Matt Duchene

Gabriel Landeskog -- Tyson Jost -- Rocco Grimaldi

Mikhail Grigorenko -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Mark Barberio -- Erik Johnson

Francois Beauchemin -- Tyson Barrie

Anton Lindholm -- Duncan Siemens

Jeremy Smith

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Joe Colborne, Cody Goloubef, John Mitchell, Fedor Tyutin, Patrick Wiercioch

Injured: Mikko Rantanen (lower body) 


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Devin Shore

Remi Elie -- Tyler Seguin -- Denis Gurianov

Gemel Smith -- Radek Faksa -- Jason Spezza

Jason Dickinson -- Adam Cracknell -- Mark McNeill

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Julius Honka

Patrik Nemeth -- Greg Pateryn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Stephen Johns

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Curtis McKenzie (eye), Jiri Hudler (groin), Ales Hemsky (hip), Brett Ritchie (charlie horse), Justin Dowling (concussion), Patrick Sharp (hip)


Status report

The Stars held an optional morning skate. The Avalanche did not hold a morning skate.


Who's hot

Andrighetto has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past eight games. ... Spezza has five points (three goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak and 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games. 

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