Avalanche-Stars Preview

The Dallas Stars don’t have to wait long for the chance to

avenge their most recent defeat against the Colorado Avalanche.

After bouncing back from that loss, the Stars try to extend the

Avalanche’s road slide to nine games Saturday in their second

meeting in four nights.

In the mix for a playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference,

Dallas (14-13-3) has won two of three following an 0-3-1 slide.

After falling 4-3 at Colorado (11-14-4) on Wednesday, the Stars won

2-0 at Los Angeles a night later.

Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney each scored in the third period and

Kari Lehtonen made a season-high 40 saves against the Kings.

“This is when your goalie comes and gets you,” coach Glen

Gulutzan said. “Saves you in the first 40 and we picked it up in

the last 20.”

Lehtonen, who saw 34 shots at Colorado, has faced at least 40

four times this year. Dating to last season, he’s 16-4-1 when

opponents record at least 35.

Jagr and Whitney, meanwhile, each scored for the second straight

game and together for the third time in 2013. In a season-opening

win over Phoenix, they became the fourth pair of teammates 40 years

or older to score in the same contest since 1942-43.

“Age doesn’t matter. It only matters how hard you work,” said

the 41-year-old Jagr, who leads Dallas with 12 goals and 22

points.

Whitney, who turns 41 in May, has three goals and three assists

during a five-game point streak. He has two and eight assists in

the last seven against the Avalanche.

Jagr’s 46 points (20 goals) against the Avalanche franchise are

his most against any West opponent.

Colorado snapped a season-high four-game skid with Wednesday’s

victory. Chuck Kobasew, Ryan O’Reilly and Mark Olver each had a

goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who are toiling at the bottom

of the West.

“It feels great to get a win. The last 10 days or so hasn’t been

fun around here,” said Kobasew, who has two goals in three games.

“Hopefully now that we’ve got a win under our belt we can get our

confidence back.”

A victory away from home would certainly boost the collective

confidence of the Avalanche, who have allowed an average of 3.4

non-shootout goals during an 0-5-3 road slide. Colorado, which is

2-9-3 away from the Pepsi Center, endured an 0-8-1 road skid last

season.

Avs coach Joe Sacco might again go with the same lineup from

Wednesday when he sat forwards Jamie McGinn and David Jones, who

have combined for one point in nine March contests. He inserted

Olver, who was a healthy scratch the previous seven games.

“We had to make some changes. Changes we felt would help our

lineup and that’s what I did,” Sacco said. “There comes a point

where you wait around for people to get the job done and after a

while you have to make a decision, hard decisions.”

Colorado’s Matt Duchene has a team-leading 31 points but none in

his last three against the Stars – all at home. He has three goals

and three assists in his last two at Dallas.