Colorado Avalanche web staff contributed to this story.
STARS (15-11-5) at AVALANCHE (21-9-1)
TV: Altitude, Fox Sports Southwest
Last 10: Dallas 4-3-3; Colorado 5-4-1
Season series: This is the third of five games between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche. Colorado won the first two games, each by a 3-2 score. The Stars and Avalanche will play the second game of this home-and-home series Tuesday at American Airlines Center.
Big story: Four crucial Central Division points are on the line tonight and tomorrow. The Avs fell Saturday night into a virtual tie with the Minnesota Wild for third place in the division (43 points apiece), while Dallas trails both by eight points.
Stars: Dallas is wrapping up in Colorado a three-game road trip after splitting the first two games. The Stars bounced back from Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators with a 6-4 win Saturday night against Winnipeg at MTS Centre. Dallas forward Tyler Seguin had two goals and two assists, and defenseman Sergei Gonchar added four assists in the victory.
"We've been getting so many chances and haven't been getting bounces," Seguin said of his team's power play, which went 2-for-5 against the Jets. "We know that the top teams in the [Western Conference] have great special teams, so we've been trying to figure that out."
Avalanche: Colorado coach Patrick Roy revealed Sunday that defenseman Ryan Wilson, 26, will miss tonight's game but is set to return Tuesday in Dallas from a back injury that has kept him out since Nov. 6 against the Nashville Predators.
Several players have been asked to step up on Colorado's blue line this season, including Tyson Barrie, Andre Benoit, Nate Guenin and Nick Holden. Roy said he's been pleased with what he's seen from those four in particular.
"I think, without a doubt, the four of them have been playing good hockey for us," Roy said. "It's not always easy to be in and out of the lineup. Holden handled it pretty well. I'm very happy with him, same thing with Guenin. When Guenin came into training camp we were not sure if he would make the team, and he made a great impression. That's what we asked our players before training camp, is to make a good impression on us; give us a chance to make tough decisions. He forced us to keep him.
"Obviously, the four of them have been playing some very good hockey for us. They have showed a lot of consistency. It's going to be even tougher when Willie will be back. We're gonna have some good decisions to make on who will be in and who will be out."
Who's hot: Avalanche forward Maxime Talbot has two goals and one assist in the past five games. … Seguin's four-point night Saturday was his second such effort in the past four games. Seguin leads Dallas with 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) in 29 games.
Injury report: Stars forward Vernon Fiddler (upper body) has missed the past three games, and defensemen Stephane Robidas (leg) and Trevor Daley (ankle) are on injured reserve. … Besides Wilson, the Avalanche on Monday are also expected to be without forward Alex Tanguay (hip/knee).
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