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Mon, Nov 28, 2011 - 9:00 PM ET
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In the midst of a free fall, the Dallas Stars are now without Kari Lehtonen.

They're hoping Andrew Raycroft can win for the first time in nearly 11 months.

As injuries continue to mount, Raycroft will try to help the Stars end a four-game road slide Monday night when they face the Colorado Avalanche.

Dallas (13-9-1) has endured a 2-6-1 stretch after starting the season by winning 11 of its first 14.

The recent swoon includes a 3-0 loss at Colorado (10-12-1) on Nov. 18. In that game, the Stars wasted an outstanding effort from Lehtonen, who had a season-high 42 saves on 44 shots.

Now, they'll have to cope with the goaltender's absence after he suffered a groin injury 5:31 into Saturday's 3-0 loss at Phoenix. Lehtonen, 13-4-1 with a 2.34 goals-against average, was placed on injured reserve and will be replaced by Raycroft.

Raycroft stopped 33 of 36 shots Saturday, falling to 0-7-0 with a 4.53 GAA in his last 11 games - seven starts - since making 26 saves in a 4-0 win at Minnesota on Jan. 9.

"Razor has been the guy before and that's why we got him - to have a situation where we felt like we have two good goalies," coach Glen Gulutzan told the Stars' official website. "He's going to be the guy Monday for sure and if he has to carry the ball for a week, I have no problems having him do that and I don't think he does, either."

Raycroft has lost three of four meetings with the Avalanche. He had 40 saves in a 5-0 defeat at Colorado on Nov. 6, 2010, in his first game there since spending the 2008-09 season with the team.

He feels some consistent playing time should be a benefit.

"I've been a starter in the league and to be honest, feel more comfortable with it most of the time. You can get into a bit of a rhythm," Raycroft said.

The Stars continue to play without captain Brenden Morrow (upper body), defenseman Alex Goligoski (broken thumb) and right wing Adam Burish (broken hand), while defenseman Trevor Daley (back) is also expected to be out after getting hurt Saturday.

Left wing Vernon Fiddler suffered a groin injury against the Coyotes and is day-to-day.

Increased production from Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson would be welcome.

Benn leads Dallas with 23 points, but has just five in the last nine games and none in five of the last seven. He had three assists in a 7-6 overtime win over the Avalanche on Nov. 4, setting up both of Eriksson's goals - including the game-winner.

Eriksson also assisted on Fiddler's tally in that meeting, but has just one of his team-leading 10 goals over the past seven games.

The Stars have lost seven of their past nine visits to Denver.

The Avalanche are trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since a five-game winning streak Oct. 10-17. They beat Edmonton 5-2 on Saturday to split the first four of this eight-game homestand.

Matt Duchene, the team leader with nine goals and 17 points, has four goals and one assist in his last seven games. The center has five goals and seven assists in 10 career meetings with Dallas, including a hat trick in the Avs' overtime defeat earlier this month.

Stefan Elliott will try to build on his memorable NHL debut Saturday, when he scored the game-winner for his first goal. He was recalled from Lake Erie of the AHL to replace fellow blueliner Erik Johnson, who is on IR with a groin injury.

Tagged: Stars, Avalanche, Coyotes, Andrew Raycroft, Kari Lehtonen, Loui Eriksson, Erik Johnson

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