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Avalanche at Stars preview

MacKinnon expected in lineup for Colorado; Dallas hopes to fix offensive struggles

by Sean Shapiro / NHL.com Correspondent

AVALANCHE (4-1-0) at STARS (1-3-0)

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

 

The Game 

Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is expected to play against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Saturday after leaving a 3-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks with an eye injury on Friday. 

The Stars have the NHL's second-worst even-strength shooting percentage (3.6 percent; four goals on 110 shots). Defenseman Dan Hamhuis returns to the lineup after missing two games with a groin injury and will be paired with Stephen Johns.

Semyon Varlamov will start the second half of the back-to-back for Colorado and is 3-0-0 this season. Ben Bishop will make his third straight start for Dallas. 

 

Players to watch

Forward Sven Andrighetto leads the Avalanche with six points (three goals, three assists) in five games and had two assists in the win against the Ducks.

Stars defenseman John Klingberg has five points (two goals, three assists) in his first four games.  

 

They said it

"We're thinking about this year. I'm happy with what we're seeing, but the work's just begun and our guys know that. We know we have something to prove. Respect is going to be earned every day and it's going to take the whole season to earn it back." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on the differences from last season

"I think if you look at scoring chances and Grade A scoring chances we're averaging enough to win games and over the course of the year it will work itself out. Maybe guys are just gripping the sticks a little, maybe feeling it a little bit, it's kind of an unexplainable feeling where you're not comfortable around the net, myself included. Once you get the ball rolling, that's what's going to happen for us soon." -- Stars forward Brett Ritchie on his team's slow start offensively

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Sven Andrighetto -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Alexander Kerfoot -- Matt Duchene -- Nail Yakupov

Gabriel Landeskog -- J.T. Compher -- Colin Wilson

Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Nikita Zadorov -- Erik Johnson

Patrik Nemeth -- Tyson Barrie

Mark Barberio -- Chris Bigras

Semyon Varlamov

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Anton Lindholm, Andrei Mironov

Injured: Sergei Boikov (shoulder), Tyson Jost (knee)

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark -- Jason Spezza -- Brett Ritchie

Remi Elie -- Martin Hanzal -- Devin Shore

Antoine Roussel -- Radek Faksa -- Tyler Pitlick

Marc Methot -- John Klingberg

Esa Lindell -- Julius Honka

Dan Hamhuis -- Stephen Johns

Ben Bishop

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Greg Pateryn, Gemel Smith

Injured: None

 

Status report

Nemeth returns to Dallas for the first time since he was claimed by Colorado on waivers on Oct. 3. ... Colorado cancelled its morning skate with back-to-back games. The Stars held an optional morning skate. 

 

Stat pack

Stars coach Ken Hitchcock has 782 career wins, tied with Al Arbour for third-most in NHL history. ... The Avalanche have won four of their first five games for the fourth time since moving to Colorado. The Avalanche lead the NHL with five empty-net goals. 

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