The Dallas Stars will look to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games when they take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight at American Airlines Center.
The Stars have outscored their opponents 14-1 during their three-game winning streak. Their last win was the most impressive of the bunch, a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It’s a confidence booster. They are one of the top teams in the league. We limited their chances,” said Stars forward Rich Peverley. “We have to have that mentality tonight [against Colorado] to go at them, take their time and space away and hopefully that will help us.”
This will be the fifth and final meeting between the Stars and Avalanche this season. Colorado has won three of the first four games.
“We know they are a good team, they play a fast game and they’ve got some pretty skilled forwards,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We have to find a way to slow them down. We have to keep doing the things we’ve been doing – get pucks deep, limit our turnovers.”
The three straight wins have helped the Stars make up a little ground in the playoff race. They enter tonight’s action six points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Stars can’t afford to let their guard down after Saturday’s big win over Pittsburgh.
“Approach it the same way we approached it after beating Minnesota, after Toronto and after Pittsburgh. It’s enjoy it and then focus on the next team knowing that we’ve got a ways to go,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’ve been able to put those previous games away. We don’t want to live in the past. We’ve got to live for today. We know what they bring and we’ve got to scheme for them knowing that they’re fast and knowing that we’re going to have to match that emotional level we were at last game to win this game.”
Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice for the Stars this morning, so it looks like he will be in goal tonight. No other lineup changes are expected for the Stars. The forward line combinations and defense pairs at this morning’s skate were the same as those used in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh. Kevin Connauton is expected to be a healthy scratch.
Lehtonen NHL’s ‘First Star’ of the week
Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen was named the NHL’s ‘First Star’ of the week after posting a 3-1-0 record, 1.25 goals against average, .944 save percentage and two shutouts last week. Lehtonen won his final three games of the week, allowing just one goal on 67 shots and posting shutouts in two of those three games.
Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist and Carolina’s Andrej Sekera were the other two stars of the week.
“I like to talk about the energy and emotion you can put in a game. I like to talk about the passion. The last thing I said is I want our fans to be proud of the way we play. Just answer that question when you walk in the locker room after a game, those people that watched me tonight, are they going to be proud of the way we played? And if you can say yes to that and you come out on the losing end, sometimes that happens.”
Stars coach Lindy Ruff on last Tuesday’s team meeting just prior to the Minnesota game that kicked off the team’s current winning streak
Who: Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Ray Whitney – Vernon Fiddler – Erik Cole
Rich Peverley - Shawn Horcoff – Alex Chiasson
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Aaron Rome – Sergei Gonchar
Avalanche projected lineup
Gabriel Landeskog – Paul Stastny – Alex Tanguay
Ryan O’Reilly – Matt Duchene – Jamie McGinn
Maxime Talbot – Nathan MacKinnon – John Mitchell
Cody McLeod – Marc-Andre Cliché – Patrick Bordeleau
Jan Hejda – Erik Johnson
Nick Holden – Andre Benoit
Ryan Wilson – Tyson Barrie
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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.