The Colorado Avalanche know they must be better defensively even though Semyon Varlamov is playing extremely well. That’s especially the case with the NHL’s top goal scorer coming to town.
The Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin has enjoyed success against Varlamov heading into Saturday’s matchup.
Varlamov has been the story in consecutive wins with 90 saves. His career-high 54 on Tuesday in a 2-0 win over Chicago were the most ever in a road shutout, and he stopped 36 shots two nights later in a 5-2 win over Ottawa.
”Varly was our best player again. Varly is bringing a lot of confidence to the team,” coach Patrick Roy said.
Colorado (17-16-8) has been outshot by 47 over the last two games and will now take on the Stars, one of the NHL’s highest-scoring teams at 3.03 goals per game.
"I think we could play better," Roy said. "We’re going to have to play better against Dallas on Saturday defensively if we want to win that hockey game."
Varlamov has posted a 2.22 goals-against average in winning four straight over the Stars (18-15-7).
Seguin has 26 goals and 47 points as he tries to avoid his second three-game point drought of the season. In four games in which Seguin has played for Dallas with Varlamov in goal for Colorado, the forward has four goals and four assists.
The Stars have dropped four straight in Colorado, losing 5-2 to goalie Calvin Pickard on Nov. 29. Dallas has lost 11 of its last 15 visits, with its power play going 1 for 39 in the past 11.
That unit has gone 0 for 8 in an 0-1-2 slide for Dallas, coming up empty in three chances in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime defeat at Nashville.
"The power play wasn’t any good," coach Lindy Ruff said. "That’s just something I gotta make sure I improve."
The Stars fell to 0-6 in games decided in overtime; they are 2-1 in shootouts.
”We’re giving up points in overtime, and that’s obviously hurting us in the standings,” center Jason Spezza said.
Colorado star Jarome Iginla can reach a milestone against the franchise that drafted him in 1995 before trading him to Calgary before he ever played for Dallas. Iginla scored twice Thursday to give him 572 goals and move him within one of Mike Bossy for 20th on the NHL’s career list.
”It feels good,” Iginla said. ”It always feels good to win and to score."
Iginla had gone seven straight games against the Stars without scoring before he had one goal in the first meeting.
Dallas has 43 points and Colorado 42, leaving both out of the playoff picture.
"We know the game on Saturday is a really big one against Dallas," defenseman Erik Johnson said. "That’s a four-point swing right there, and if we can win that game, which I know we think we obviously have a good chance every night to win, so it’ll be a huge game."