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44-31-7

27 SOG
32 SOG
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Stars-Avalanche Preview

Wednesday, 12.27.2006 / 5:00 PM

Associated Press

The Colorado Avalanche have been hard to stop on home ice lately, but Wednesday night they face an opponent which doesn't seem to have trouble playing in Denver's high altitude.

The Dallas Stars look to win their fourth straight visit to the Pepsi Center when they face off with the surging Avalanche.

Colorado (18-15-2) has won five of its last six games overall and four straight at home, including Saturday's 3-2 victory over Chicago. Rookie left wing Wojtek Wolski had his first career multigoal game and Joe Sakic added a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

"We place an emphasis on winning at home," said Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville, whose team improved to 10-7-1 at home this season. "We want to make sure that teams coming in here play at the tempo we set and force a high pressure game."

Goaltender Jose Theodore needed to make only 17 saves to earn his first win since Dec. 7. He was helped by Colorado's penalty-killing unit, which has allowed opponents just one goal in 21 power-play opportunities during the four-game home winning streak.

The Avalanche killed off all five Chicago power plays Saturday.

Wolski and Sakic both scored in the first period of the Oct. 4 season opener against Dallas at the Pepsi Center, but the Stars rallied to force overtime, where Darryl Sydor beat Theodore in the Stars' 3-2 victory.

The Stars have won their last five meetings with the Avalanche overall, including all three of their visits to Colorado since the lockout ended. All three of those games at Colorado have gone to overtime, however, including 3-2 shootout wins for Dallas on Nov. 5, 2005 and Jan. 26.

While special teams play helped the Avalanche win Saturday, it helped do in the Stars (23-14-0) on Tuesday. Dallas gave up two power-play goals in four opportunities at Chicago, and went 0-for-4 on its own man advantages in a 2-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

"You could tell it was a day-after-Christmas game," coach Dave Tippett said after the Stars failed to win three straight games for the fifth time this season. "I thought it was a sloppy game.

"It was one of those games where the team that got the lead was going to have a distinct advantage. We gave up two power-play goals and that was the difference. Hopefully we got the turkey out of our legs tonight and we'll be better tomorrow."

Dallas also allowed two goals on the power play in its previous game, a 3-2 victory over Edmonton on Saturday. However, the Stars still rank among the league's top 10 teams on the season with an 85.5 percent penalty kill rate.

Stu Barnes scored the lone goal for Dallas on Tuesday - just his fourth of the season but third in the last five games.

Marty Turco made 22 saves in the defeat. He is 8-4 with three ties and a 2.32 goals-against average in 17 career games versus Colorado.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 11 '07COL 5 at DAL 7P. Boucher
Dec 27 '06DAL 5 at COL 4J. Halpern
Nov 20 '06COL 4 at DAL 5A. Miettinen
Oct 04 '06DAL 3 at COL 2 - OTD. Sydor
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GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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