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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, December 17th (All times Eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (22-9-1) at Dallas Stars (15-12-5), 8:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Paul Stastny broke out of his scoring slump in a big way. He'll try to keep the Colorado Avalanche going in the right direction on Tuesday night in the finale of a home-and-home series with the Dallas Stars.

Stastny went nine straight games without a point before notching four in last night's 6-2 home victory over the Stars. He scored twice during a four-goal second period and assisted on Erik Johnson's tally in the frame. Stastny also picked up a helper on Tyson Barrie's third-period marker.

"It's always nice to get four points, but more important to get the win," said Stastny, who has 10 goals and 21 points in 30 games this season.

Nathan MacKinnon and Andre Benoit also scored, while PA Parenteau picked up three assists and Matt Duchene two.

Semyon Varlamov ended with 31 saves for the Avs, who are 2-0-1 in their past three games.

"It's a big game any time you play a back-to-back, home-and-home," Stastny said. "You want to get that first win. The last couple of games we've been playing better."

Defenseman Kevin Connauton scored his first NHL goal and Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist for the Stars, who have lost three of their past four. Kari Lehtonen allowed six goals on 48 shots faced.

Connauton, playing in his seventh career game for a hobbled Stars blue line, scored with 33 seconds left in the opening period to tie the game before the Avs took over in the second.

"Just as a team, we got away from our game. The excitement of the goal really wore off quick. They are so quick and come hard to the net, we just couldn't bounce back," said Connauton. "It is great, we have a shot at redemption (Tuesday) night. We have to get off to a good start."

Dallas' defensive unit is already missing Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley due to injury and saw veteran Aaron Rome exit last night's contest with a lower-body injury in the first period.

The Stars have now lost all three of their meetings with the Avalanche this season and six of the previous nine meetings overall.

Dallas dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime on Nov. 1 in the lone meeting this season in Texas.

Lehtonen fell to 8-4-2 with a 2.76 goals against average in 16 games (14 starts) versus the Avalanche, while backup Dan Ellis is 5-2-0 with a 2.16 GAA in seven games versus them.

Varlamov has been in net for all three victories over the Stars this season, posting a 1.97 GAA, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere is the expected starter tonight for the Avs.

Giguere is 16-20-3 with a tie and 2.72 GAA in his career against Dallas. He is 7-1-0 with a 1.83 GAA in nine starts overall this season, picking up his first loss last time out in Vancouver on Dec. 8.

12/17 10:50:21 ET

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