|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 13, 2018
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas Attendance: 18,532
Avalanche look for sixth straight win when facing Stars
Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars
- The Avalanche won, 7-2, versus Minnesota on Saturday. Colorado has won five straight games and is 10-3-1 in its last 14 games. Colorado has killed off 41-of-43 (95.3% PK) opponent power plays over the 14-game stretch, and the Avalanche have scored 10 power-play goals in their last seven games.
- The Stars won, 5-1, versus Edmonton on Saturday. Dallas has won two straight, four of five and six of its last eight games (6-2-0). The Stars are 7-2-1 on Saturdays this season, tied for the third best record in the NHL on Saturdays. Dallas was 7-10-1 on Saturdays in 2016-17.
- This is already the fifth and final meeting of the season between the Avalanche and Stars. The teams have each won two of the first meetings and all four meetings have finished in regulation. Dallas is 6-2-0 in its last eight meetings with Colorado. The Avalanche are 1-for-24 (4.2%) on the power play versus the Stars in the last eight games.
- The Avalanche had seven different players with multiple points on Saturday versus Minnesota. It was the first time Colorado had as many as seven multi-point efforts in the same game since November 3, 2015 versus Calgary (also seven players with 2+ points).
- Carl Soderberg had two goals on Saturday versus Minnesota, and now has had multiple goals in two of his last seven games. Prior to the last seven games, Soderberg had 354 career regular-season games played and had zero multi-goal games.
- Alexander Radulov had a goal and two assists in the first period on Saturday versus Edmonton. Radulov was the first Stars' forward with 3+ points in a first period since Patrick Eaves had a first-period hat trick at Chicago on February 11, 2016. Note: D-man John Klingberg had three points in the first period versus the Islanders on November 10, 2017.
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DALLAS -- The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars have already met four times this season, but when these Central Division rivals square off Saturday night at American Airlines Center, it will be a different paradigm with both clubs playing their first game after the bye week.
Colorado (22-16-3) defeated Minnesota 7-2 at Pepsi Center on Jan. 6 for its fifth consecutive victory.
But Avalanche goaltender Jonathan Bernier, currently Colorado's top netminder with Semyon Varlamov sidelined with a groin injury probably until the NHL All-Star break, doesn't know what to expect in Colorado's first game in a week.
"Yeah, it (the bye week) was great," Bernier said on a radio show Friday. "Sometimes when you're winning games, you don't want to get a long break like this, but it's good to recharge the batteries and get back at it."
Colorado is 7-9-2 on the road and 7-2-1 over its last 10 games. But the Avalanche have split the four meetings against the Stars this season, winning 5-3 on Oct. 24 and 3-0 again on Nov. 22, but both those victories came at Pepsi Center.
Dallas (24-16-3, 51 points), who beat Edmonton 5-1 last Saturday at home, won the only meeting in Dallas, 3-1 on Oct. 14 and prevailed 7-3 in Denver on Dec. 3.
But Avalanche coach Jared Bednar feels confident about his team right now, especially with Bernier, a more than able backup netminder, stepping up in a big way during Varlamov's recent absence.
"Johnathan Bernier has stepped up on a number of different occasions. I think his game's getting better and better as the season goes on," Bednar said on a SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on Friday.
"I think it was five games in a row he (Bernier) played and I think he went 4-1 for us, some real good games where he stood on his head and got us some points when we needed him. Hopefully he can continue with that. I'm glad to see him get an opportunity because he's been patient, played well when he's been in. We're confident he can carry the load for us while (Varlamov) is out."
Ben Bishop will start in goal Saturday for Dallas, but the Stars, who are 16-5-1 on home ice, will be without veteran defenseman Marc Methot (knee) for at least the next two weeks.
Methot, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Vegas, had returned from a 26-game absence on Jan. 4, but did not play two days later against Edmonton.
And after Methot did not practice Friday, Dallas' first on-ice session since the bye week, Stars coach Ken Hitchcock offered a full explanation.
"(Methot) is out for a minimum of two weeks. He had another procedure done," Hitchcock said. "We skated early in the week and there was still some soreness, so he had another procedure done to eliminate the soreness so that he can be hopefully like Hanzal where he's 100 percent, but I can't give you the exact date, but he's going to be evaluated in about 10 days from now and then we'll know the exact date that he's going to be ready to play. He and us felt that he could play through what he's got, but it wouldn't be good long term, so we opted to get it done now."
And with the Stars down to six healthy defensemen, Hitchcock said the organization will recall a young defenseman from AHL Texas.
"Yeah. I don't know yet (who that will be)," Hitchcock said. "(General manager) Jim (Nill) is going to let you know on that one, but we're going to certainly have one here hopefully for tomorrow's game, and obviously, we're going to need one for the road trip too.
"There's a couple guys down there that are playing awful well. I think one of the problems is one of the guys that's playing awful well has just come back from an injury himself, so we'll see, but there are two guys that are really on top of their game right now, so we'll see."
Dallas practiced for around an hour on Friday, its first on-ice action in some six days.
And while the bye week had some therapeutic qualities for some players battling aches and pains, Hitchcock admitted much of the feedback he got from his roster on the week off was negative.
"I never talked to one guy today (Friday) that really enjoyed it," Hitchcock said. "The comments I got from the players was it was too long. They love the breaks, but if it was more, shorter breaks, I think they would like it more. And it's not the break itself, it's trying to start up again. Today was a tough day getting started."
Saturday will mark Dallas' final home game for 10 days as the Stars depart on a four-game Eastern Conference road trip that will take them to Boston, Detroit, Columbus and Buffalo before returning home to host another East team, Florida, on Jan. 23, but even though his team remains a work-in-progress, Hitchcock likes how far the Stars have come and where they're headed the rest of the way.
"I like where we're at. I like what we're doing and I like where we're going," Hitchcock said. "Who knows where this is going to take us to? We've got a long ways to go, but I like our attitude. We've really dug in and we're proud of the way we play and we're throwing it out there more games than we're not right now."
Updated January 13, 2018