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Stars-Avalanche Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Thursday, April 7

7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (48-23-9) had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 3-1 loss at Anaheim on Sunday. The Ducks scored twice shorthanded to take a 2-0 lead in the game.

“Clearly the power play let us down. A couple of mistakes went the wrong way,” said Stars forward Patrick Sharp. “You are not always going to score on the power play, but you don’t want to change momentum going the other way, and that’s what we did tonight. It was the difference in the game.”

The Stars and St. Louis are tied atop the Central Division with 105 points with two games remaining for both teams. The Stars would clinch the division and the No. 1 seed in the West with a win over Colorado and if St. Louis loses to Chicago in regulation on Thursday.

Dallas defenseman Kris Russell, who has missed seven games with a foot injury, practiced Wednesday. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said there is a “good chance” Russell plays Thursday.

With the Stars down to 11 healthy forwards due to injuries to Tyler Seguin, Patrick Eaves, Mattias Janmark and Brett Ritchie, the team recalled forward Curtis McKenzie from the AHL. Ruff said McKenzie will play Thursday.

Thursday’s game kicks off a two-game homestand to close out the regular season for Dallas.

Injuries: D Kris Russell (foot) is probable. F Mattias Janmark (upper body), F Patrick Eaves (mid-body), C Tyler Seguin (Achilles), RW Brett Ritchie (lower body) and D Jason Demers (shoulder) are out.

The Avalanche (39-37-4) were eliminated from contention for a playoff spot with a 4-3 loss at Nashville. It was the fourth straight loss for the Avalanche and the sixth in the past seven games.

“Today I am very disappointed,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy told “I'm sure we're going to have plenty of time to talk about it, but I mean it's not what we expect from this team. We expect more from this team.”

It’s the second straight season Colorado has missed the playoffs.

The Avalanche wrap up a two-game road trip Thursday and play their final game of the season Saturday in Denver against Anaheim.

Injuries: F Nathan MacKinnon (knee), D Eric Gelinas (elbow), D Brad Stuart (back) and F Jesse Winchester (concussion) are out.

*This is the fourth and final meeting between the Stars and Avalanche.

*The Stars are 1-2-0 in the season series.

*The Avalanche are 2-0-1 in the season series.

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

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

*Feb. 4, at Colorado: Stars 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)

*The Stars are 17-7-3 vs. the Central Division.

*The Avalanche are 13-12-2 vs. the Central.

*The Stars have allowed 15 goals over their past eight games (1.88 per game).

*Colorado has allowed 27 goals over their past seven games (3.86 per game).

*The Stars are 42-44 (95.5 percent) on the penalty kill over the past 15 games.

*Colorado is 2-24 (8.3 percent) on the power play over the past ten games.

*The Stars lead the league in empty-net goals (23).

*Colorado leads the league in empty-net goals against (19).

*Jamie Benn leads Dallas in goals (41) and points (88).

*Matt Duchene leads the Avalanche in goals (30) and points (59).

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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