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Stars-Avalanche Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche

Saturday, October 10

8:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (1-0-0) opened the season with a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh Thursday at American Airlines Center. Goaltender Antti Niemi pitched a 37-save shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut.

“Doesn’t get much better than this,” Niemi said. “It was a great effort from our team. A lot of luck, especially toward the end of the game. Even when it didn’t really matter, we kept up.”

Rookie Mattias Janmark scored in his first NHL game, tallying 1:39 into the first period to give Dallas a 1-0 lead. Ales Hemsky and Jamie Benn scored on the power play for the Stars.

The Stars were 8-14-7 against the Central Division last season, and Colorado was one of the teams they struggled against. The Stars were 0-3-2 against the Avalanche, including 0-3-0 in Denver.

“It’s another hurdle, another hurdle for us to get over,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “For us, that is the next challenge, playing against that team is finding a way to put a ‘W’ up on the board.”

Injuries: None

About the Avalanche

The Avalanche (0-1-0) had a 4-1 lead over the Minnesota Wild heading into the third period Thursday night in Denver, but couldn’t hold it and lost 5-4 in the season-opener for both teams. The Wild scored four goals in a 5:07 span of the third period to rally for the victory.

"When you score four goals, those games you should win," Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov told reporters after the game. "There's a time when the goalie has to step up and stop those shots; it doesn't matter if they are tough ones or easy ones. I didn't play well tonight. Five goals ... I'm so [angry]."

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin, signed as a free agent in the offseason, registered three assists in 22:06 of playing time in his Avalanche debut. Carl Soderberg, another key offseason acquisition, had one assist and logged 16:36 of ice time.

Varlamov is expected to start Saturday vs. the Stars.

Injuries: C Jesse Winchester (concussion-like symptoms) is out.

Series Notes

*This is the first of four meetings between the Stars and Avalanche this season.

*The Stars were 0-3-2 (2 points) against the Avalanche last season, including 0-3-0 in Denver.

*Colorado was 5-0-0 (10 points) vs. Dallas.

*The Stars are 0-5-0 at Colorado the past two seasons.

The Stars are 51-53-19 all-time vs. the Colorado franchise.

Statistical tidbits

*Forward Ales Hemsky (one goal, one assist) and goaltender Antti Niemi (two assists) co-lead the Stars in points through one game.

*Defenseman Francois Beauchemin (three assists) leads the Avalanche in scoring after one game.

*The Stars were 2-5 on the power play opening night and 3-3 on the penalty kill.

*Colorado went 2-2 on the power play opening night and 1-2 on the penalty kill.

*According to NHL Public Relations: Since his first NHL shutout with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-10, [Stars goaltender Antti] Niemi ranks second in the NHL with 33 shutouts, trailing New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (35).

*Niemi is 8-1-3 in his career vs. Colorado with a 2.54 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 8-6-4 vs. Colorado with a 2.89 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.

*Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov is 9-3-2 vs. Dallas with a 2.99 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.

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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