Dallas (16-10-11) at Colorado (21-12-6)

Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 58° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Sat Dec 26, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Dallas Stars’ trio of James Neal(notes), Brad Richards(notes) and Loui Eriksson(notes) did plenty of damage on a three-game homestand.

They’ll try to carry that production over on Saturday night when the Stars look to end a three-game road slide in their first meeting this season against the Colorado Avalanche, who enter off a dispiriting loss.

Each member of the Stars’ top line had five points over the last three games. They combined for two goals, four assists and eight shots Wednesday as Dallas (16-10-11) beat Columbus 3-1 to take two of three on the homestand.

Neal scored two goals for the second time in three games, and has seven in his last 10 contests. His 18 goals are six shy of his total as a rookie in 2008-09.

“He’s got real good hands and he gets to pucks around the net,” coach Marc Crawford said. “He showed his physical nature. That’s his game.”

Neal has been helped by the stellar work of his linemates. Richards has five assists in three games to bring his total to 32 - the fourth-highest in the NHL.

Eriksson has three goals and nine assists in a career-best eight-game point streak for the Stars, who are 1-3-3 in their last seven road games.

Still, that potent attack should present a challenge for the Avalanche’s Craig Anderson(notes), who is 2-2-0 with a 3.55 goals-against average in his last four games. Anderson went 10-1-2 with a 1.97 GAA in his first 13 starts, but has gone 8-8-3 with a 3.15 GAA in his last 19.

He made 39 saves Tuesday as Colorado (21-12-6) blew a two-goal lead with eight minutes left in a 4-2 home loss to Anaheim. The Avalanche fell to 16-3-3 when leading after two periods.

“We held on, Andy played so well again, we deserved better than that,” defenseman Kyle Quincey(notes) said. “It’s a tough loss and we’ll learn from it.”

Brandon Yip(notes) scored his first NHL goal for Colorado in his third career game after being recalled from Lake Erie of the AHL on Dec. 18.

The Avalanche’s top two scorers—Paul Stastny(notes) (38 points) and Wojtek Wolski(notes) (37) - combined for only six assists last season against the Stars. Colorado won two meetings by one goal and lost the other two in shootouts.

It’s unclear if Marty Turco(notes) will start for Dallas after Alex Auld(notes) stopped 33 shots against the Blue Jackets.

“Even though they had a few more shots than we did, I thought the guys limited their chances,” said Auld who made 24 saves over the final 40 minutes after letting in a first-period goal. “We did a good job keeping the shots on the outside and letting me see the puck.”

Turco has posted a 3.06 GAA in losing his last three starts at the Pepsi Center. He’s 3-4-4 with a 3.19 GAA in his last 11 appearances.

Auld, meanwhile, is 2-2-1 with a 3.76 GAA in his last five starts against the Avalanche.

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Saturday, Dec 26