Stars at Avalanche
8 p.m. Saturday, Pepsi Center, Denver
TV: FSSW KTCK/1310 AM and 96.7 FM
Records: Stars 1-0-0, 2 points; Avalanche 0-0-0, 0 pts.
About the Stars: The defending Central Division champs were slow starters in their season opener, getting outshot 17-1 by Anaheim in the first period. But goals from an unlikely group consisting of defenseman Stephen Johns and lower-tier forwards Lauri Korpikoski, Antoine Roussel and Adam Cracknell powered the Stars to a 4-2 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,532 at American Airlines Center. Goalie Antti Niemi shook off the first-period target practice to stop 33 of 35 shots for his first win of the season.
About the Avalanche: New head coach Jared Bednar has hit the ground running since taking over after Patrick Roy’s sudden resignation in August, leading Colorado to a pristine 6-0 preseason record. Center Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Tyson Barrie signed long-term contract extensions in the off-season. They join center Matt Duchene, who led the Avs last season with 30 goals and 59 points, and left wing Gabriel Landeskog (53 points) for a formidable offensive punch. The addition of future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla, an original Stars draft choice in 1995, adds a veteran scorer. The 39-year-old Iginla has 525 career goals and 1,095 points in a 16-year career spent mainly with Calgary. Goalie Semyon Varlamov (27-25-3 last season and 11-3-2 for his career against the Stars) returns to guard the net. Young winger Mikko Rantanen isn’t expected to play in the opener as he recovers from an ankle injury suffered at a rookie tournament game.