Stars-Avalanche Preview

The Colorado Avalanche haven’t scored a power-play goal in their

last 10 games, a franchise-worst stretch since moving from Quebec

in 1995, but they’re still converting a higher percentage of their

chances than the Dallas Stars.

They’ll try to get the power play on track and regain their

offensive footing Monday night at the Pepsi Center when they go for

their third win over the Stars this season in the first game of a

home-and-home set.

The Avalanche (21-9-1) last scored on the power play Nov. 21 and

have since gone 0 for 26. Their 18 goals in that span tie them for

the lowest total in the Western Conference.

“Obviously, I would like to see our power play scoring goals,”

coach Patrick Roy told the team’s official website. “… We’re

going to have to bear down on our chances on the power play. It’s

time for the power play to click, there’s no doubt about it.”

The overall offensive struggles continued in Saturday’s 2-1 home

shootout loss to Minnesota.

Max Talbot scored in the second period on a deflection to give

Colorado the lead, but that was all the offense it managed in its

third straight 0-for-2 game on the power play. At 14.6 percent for

the season, the Avalanche power play is among the worst in the NHL,

and its 89 opportunities are the fewest among West teams.

Colorado has scored five regulation goals in its last four home

games, a 1-2-1 span.

“I don’t think we played bad hockey,” leading scorer Matt

Duchene said after Saturday’s loss. “I thought we played a heck of

a hockey game. We’re having tough luck right now. We made a lot of

good plays and the one that goes in for us hits a skate and goes

in. I thought maybe the bounces were going to go our way.”

Dallas (15-11-5) snapped a two-game losing streak and broke out

of its own offensive funk in Saturday’s 6-4 win at Winnipeg.

The Stars had scored three goals in two games before getting two

apiece from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who also had two assists

for his second four-point effort in four games. Benn hadn’t scored

since Nov. 14.

Benn and Seguin both scored on the power play as the Stars went

2 for 5, though their season mark stands at a West-worst 11.8

percent after a 2-for-30 stretch in the previous nine games.

“We said it before the game that (special-teams play) was going

to make the difference,” Benn told the team’s official website.

“Our power play got a couple, and it made a difference.”

Monday’s matchup concludes a three-game road trip before hosting

Colorado on Tuesday. A pair of Dallas wins would halve the

Avalanche’s eight-point lead over the Stars for the third and final

automatic playoff spot in the Central Division.

“It’s still early, but every game you are focused on getting as

many points as you can,” Seguin said Saturday. “This road trip

we’ve really been trying to bear down. We had a tough one in

Nashville (3-1 loss Thursday), we got two tonight and we’ve got two

huge games back-to-back with Colorado.”

The Avalanche have a pair of 3-2 wins over the Stars this

season, the latest coming Nov. 1 in Dallas. Paul Stastny scored

twice in that game and has 15 points in his last 14 games against

the Stars.

Seguin has three points in the season series while Benn has five

assists in his last three games against Colorado.