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Stars-Avalanche Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Thursday, February 4

8:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (32-14-5) came out of the All-Star break with a 5-3 win at Winnipeg Tuesday. Tyler Seguin scored two goals, and Antti Niemi made 21 saves for the Stars, who won their second straight game and for the third time in their past four. Tuesday’s game was the first of five straight against Central Division teams for Dallas.

“We got the first one, now we move on to the next one,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Coming out of the break you don’t know what to expect, and I thought we got a pretty good effort out of our guys.”

The victory snapped an eight-game road losing streak for Dallas, which plays eight of its first eleven games out of the break away from home.

Forward Colton Sceviour, who left Tuesday’s game after taking a hard hit from Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, did not practice Wednesday but could play Thursday.

“He’s feeling a lot better, it’s not a concussion,” Ruff said. “We just kept him off today. He took a pretty hard blow. We’ll see where he’s at.“

Ruff said he hopes to get defenseman Jordie Benn back in the lineup Thursday. Benn came off injured reserve Tuesday but did not play.

Thursday’s game wraps up a two-game road trip for the Stars.

Injuries: F Colton Sceviour (upper body) is questionable.

The Avalanche (27-23-3) lost 2-1 to Chicago in Denver Tuesday in their first game out of the break. The Avalanche were outshot 42-23, including 29-8 over the first two periods, but goaltender Calvin Pickard kept it close with a 40-save effort.

"They could have scored seven or eight times if (Pickard) didn't play so well for us," Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon said. "We laid an egg, and it's definitely unacceptable this time of the season.

“They had the same break, so it was even. We're at home; we should have had the upper hand if anything. We weren't ready to play. It's unfortunate."

Colorado has lost two of its past three games following a four-game winning streak.

Pickard will start in goal Thursday against the Stars, Avalanche coach Patrick Roy told media Wednesday. Semyon Varlamov, who has spent the past two weeks dealing with a legal matter, will return to the lineup and serve as the backup.

Thursday’s game is the second of a four-game homestand for the Avalanche.

Injuries: G Reto Berra (ankle), C Ben Street (chest), D Brad Stuart (back surgery) and C Jesse Winchester (head) are on injured reserve.

*This is the third of four meetings between the Stars and Avalanche.

*The Stars are 0-2-0 in the season series.

*The Avalanche are 2-0-0 in the season series.

*Oct. 10, at Colorado: Avalanche 6, Stars 3

*Jan. 23, at Dallas: Avalanche 3, Stars 1

*Colorado has won eight straight games against the Stars and eleven of the last twelve.

*The Stars are 9-4-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Avalanche are 12-4-1 vs. the Central.

*The Stars are 13-8-5 on the road.

*The Avalanche are 12-11-3 at home.

*The Stars rank second in the league in goal scoring (3.24 per game).

*The Avalanche rank tenth in goal scoring (2.70 per game).

*The Avalanche are 3-31 on the power play over the past 11 games.

*The Stars have allowed six power-play goals over the past seven games and are 13-19 on the penalty kill during that stretch.

*The Stars are 21-5-2 when scoring first.

*Colorado is 20-9-2 when scoring first.

*Jamie Benn leads the Stars in goals (28) and points (58).

*Matt Duchene leads the Avalanche in goals (23) and points (42).

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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