Avalanche vs. Stars
7:30 p.m. Thursday, American Airlines Center, Dallas
Radio: KTCK/1310 AM and 96.7 FM
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Records: Avalanche 12-21-1, 25 points; Stars 15-14-7, 37 points
About the Avalanche: The bad news is that they have lost five in a row, scoring just eight goals in that stretch. The good new is they are getting out of Colorado, where they have lost nine straight. Since Thanksgiving, Colorado is 3-12-1 with 63 goals allowed. All three wins have been on the road. Goalie Semyon Varlamov didn’t make the trip to Dallas after the flareup of a groin muscle injury that first surfaced after his 51-save night Dec. 11 in Toronto. He has not been available in five of the past seven games. Calvin Pickard will be in net. He is 6-7-1 for the year but just 2-6-1 with 31 goals allowed since the start of the Avalanche’s slide on Thanksgiving.
About the Stars: For the first time since Nov. 10-11, the Stars have netted back-to-back wins. They haven’t won three in a row all season after posting nine streaks of at least three consecutive wins last year. Dallas is in its best stretch of the season, going 4-1-1 to rise above .500 for the first time since Nov. 25. This is the first of three straight home games. Defenseman John Klingberg’s third-period score in Tuesday’s 3-2 win at Arizona was his third goal of the year and first in 24 games. Dallas has won two of three meetings this season against Colorado. Center Cody Eakin returns to the lineup after serving a four-game suspension for charging Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on Dec. 15.