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Stars hope to stay hot as they visit Avs

by John Kreiser

STARS (8-4-0) at AVALANCHE (6-5-1)

TV -- FS-Southwest (HD), FS-Southwest + (HD)

Last 10 -- Dallas 6-4-0; Colorado 5-4-1

Season series -- It's the first of four meetings between the Stars and Avs. Colorado won three of four last season, including 4-1 and 4-0

Big story -- The Stars hit the road after salvaging what started out as a bad six-game homestand. They dropped the first three games but won the last three, including Friday night's 6-3 victory against Phoenix that came on the heels of a 5-2 whipping of Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The Avs are coming off a lackluster 3-1 home loss to Vancouver on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Stars -- Dallas entered Friday night's game with just six power-play goals in 48 chances, then failed to convert on its first two opportunities against the Coyotes. But then, as if someone turned on a light, they scored on their next four tries -- delighting coach Marc Crawford.

"Our power play stuck with it. It's nice when your power play scores some goals," Crawford said. "I don't think it's any sleight of hand, but we got people in front of the net tonight. When you've got net presence and you've got people around there, the rebounds do fall and we did a good job of converging on them. Lots of good things happened for us tonight."

Avalanche -- Joe Sacco was one unhappy coach after the Avs' loss to Vancouver. He obviously wasn't happy with the result, but was even more unhappy with his team's performance.

Second-year center Matt Duchene, a Calder Trophy finalist last season, was benched for part of the second period and had as many turnover (2) as shots on goal.

"He has to look after the puck better than he has," Sacco said. "He's turning the puck over too much. That gets contagious. It gets infectious. It's starting to become a trend."

Who's hot -- Loui Eriksson is on a tear for the Stars, with 4 goals and 7 points in the last two games and 10 points during a five-game streak. Linemate Brad Richards has 4 goals and 8 points in those same five games, including 2 goals and an assist in the win on Friday. …Colorado's Chris Stewart has 4 goals in his last three games.

Injury report -- Dallas is healthy. … Colorado was already without two of its regular defensemen, Kyle Cumiskey and Adam Foote, due to concussions -- and the Avs are now down another blueliner. Ryan Wilson missed Thursday's game with a leg injury. Goalie Craig Anderson (knee) is likely another week or two from returning.

Stat pack -- Dallas' penalty-killers, last in the NHL as recently as Tuesday, have allowed just 3 goals in the last 24 opposition power plays and are up to 28th at 72.9 percent. The big night for the power play bumped Dallas to 12th at 18.5 percent.

Puck drop -- As unhappy as he was with his team's play against the Canucks, don't expect Sacco to dwell on it.

"Most nights, win or lose, we put up a good effort," he said. "Tonight was a night I think we probably just need to throw the game in a garbage can and get ready for the next one."

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