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Lehtonen and Varlamov in Goal as Stars, Avalanche Meet at AAC

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars will roll out the same lineup as last game when they take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight at American Airlines Center.

The only minor tweak is that Rich Peverley will center the third line and Shawn Horcoff will move to right wing.

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal for the Stars. It will be the fifth straight start for Lehtonen, who is 4-2-1 with a 1.66 goals against average and .945 save percentage. Since Lehtonen’s return from a lower body injury, the Stars have picked up points in three of four games (2-1-1).

“He makes a big difference,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He’s bigger back there, he’s our No. 1 and we count on him, and we look for him to win games for us. I think some of his puck handling has gotten better, our transition out of our end (is better) and some of that is because of his puck handling.”

The big news on the Colorado side is that Semyon Varlamov will get the start in goal for the Avalanche. After this morning’s skate, Avalanche coach Patrick Roy talked about the decision to start Varlamov, who is facing charges of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault following his arrest Wednesday.

“I just feel it is the right decision,” Roy said. “When I was traded to Denver (in 1995) it was a tough week in Montreal, and I got to Denver late that night, I didn’t even meet the coach and there was a note saying that you are playing tonight. Why wait? Varly looks good this morning. We are all aware of what happened and we just feel that he is our guy, we have a lot of confidence in him as a goalie and it is good for him to play tonight.”

Varlamov is 7-1-0 with a 1.76 goals against average and a .945 save percentage.

Friday’s game
Who: Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Click here for channel listings)
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinErik Cole
Ray Whitney
Cody EakinAlex Chiasson
Valeri Nichushkin
Rich PeverleyShawn Horcoff
Lane MacDermid
Vernon FiddlerAntoine Roussel

Brenden DillonStephane Robidas
Trevor Daley
Sergei Gonchar
Alex Goligoski
Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Dan Ellis

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog – Paul Stastny – Alex Tanguay
Ryan O’Reilly – Matt Duchene – P.A. Parenteau
John Mitchell – Nathan Mackinnon – Max Talbot
Nick Holden – Marc-Andre Cliché – Patrick Bordeleau

Erik Johnson – Jan Hejda
Ryan Wilson – Nate Guenin
Andre Benoit – Cory Sarich

Semyon Varlamov (starter)
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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