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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 5th (All times eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (12-13-0) at Dallas Stars (9-12-4), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Both the Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars were playoff teams a season ago, but neither club looks like a postseason contender so far this year. The two teams battle tonight at Dallas' American Airlines Center in the second meeting between them this year.

The Stars finished third in a tough Pacific Division last year with 97 points and earned the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Dallas then went on a surprising run to the West finals before losing to Detroit in six games.

The Avalanche, meanwhile, were seeded sixth last year after finishing second in the Northwest Division with 95 points and knocked out the division-champion Minnesota Wild in the first round before getting swept by the Red Wings in the second round.

However, both Dallas and Colorado don't currently look like teams coming off playoff appearances. The Avalanche are tied for last in their division with 24 points (12-13-0), while the Stars are tied for the fewest points in the Western Conference with 22.

Colorado had a two-game winning streak end on Thursday with a 3-2 loss to Nashville. All five goals came in the first period, with the Avs' Wojtek Wolski scoring short-handed and Ryan Smyth adding a goal for Colorado. Peter Budaj allowed three goals on 24 shots in the loss.

Colorado wraps a three-game road trip tonight and is 6-8-0 as the visiting team this year. The Avs begin a three-game homestand on Sunday with a test against Vancouver.

Dallas has won back-to-back games just once this year and had a two-game winning streak end with Wednesday's 5-2 loss in Edmonton.

Mike Modano's 10th and 11th goals of the season were the only tallies for the Stars, and were points No. 1,301 and 1,302 in his career. In 59 career games against the Colorado franchise, the U.S.-born skater has 25 goals and 34 assists for 59 points.

Marty Turco allowed three goals on 21 shots in taking the loss.

Dallas played again without suspended forward Sean Avery, who met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday to discuss his suspension given for making inappropriate off-the-ice comments prior to Tuesday's game in Calgary.

Avery, who signed a four-year deal with the Stars this past offseason, was suspended indefinitely and has missed the last two games. On Friday, he was suspended for six games and according to a release by the league has agreed to seek a professional anger management evaluation.

Avery's suspension includes time served, meaning he will miss Dallas' next four games, including tonight's test.

Dallas begins a three-game homestand tonight and is 3-4-3 as the home team this year.

Despite their 5-4 loss at home to the Avs earlier in the season, the Stars have still won nine of their last 12 against Colorado and five of the last six as the host in the series.

12/05 12:26:06 ET

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