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Avs host Stars aiming for consecutive wins

The Colorado Avalanche will try to post consecutive wins for the first time in over a month when they host the struggling Dallas Stars tonight at Pepsi Center.

Colorado is coming off Saturday's 5-2 win over visiting Edmonton, improving the Avalanche's record in November to just 3-8-1. The Avs haven't recorded victories in consecutive outings since a five-game winning streak from Oct. 10-17.

Dallas, meanwhile, lost a 3-0 decision at Phoenix on Saturday, dropping the Stars to 2-6-1 over their last nine games. Making matters worse, the Stars also lost No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen to a groin injury in the loss to the Coyotes.

The Stars and Avs have met twice this season in what turned out to be two very different games. Dallas edged the visiting Avalanche, 7-6, in a wild overtime matchup on Nov. 4 and Colorado posted a 3-0 home victory over the Stars on Nov. 18 behind a shutout from Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Dallas had won three straight in this series before the recent shutout loss in Colorado, but the Avs have taken four of seven overall. The Avalanche have also taken four of five and seven of the last nine meetings in the Mile High City.

Colorado's 5-2 victory on Saturday marked the most goals scored by the Avalanche since they were dealt the 7-6 overtime loss in Dallas earlier this month. Stefan Elliott's first career goal -- in his NHL debut -- highlighted a four-goal third period in Saturday's rout of the Oilers.

"It was pure joy and excitement to play," said the 20-year-old Elliott, who was a second-round pick (49th overall) by Colorado in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Shane O'Brien, Jan Hejda and Paul Stastny also lit the lamp in the third for the Avalanche, who notched their first win in seven games over a Northwest Division opponent.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 31 shots to pick up his first win since October 30. Prior to Saturday's win, he was 0-6-1 with a 4.18 goals-against average and .847 save percentage in November.

The Avalanche are 2-2-0 on a current eight-game homestand. Colorado is just 4-8-0 at the Pepsi Center this season.

Dallas was handed a 3-0 loss by the Coyotes as Mike Smith stopped 26 shots for Phoenix.

Andrew Raycroft was charged with all three goals on 36 shots in relief mode for the Stars. Lehtonen left 5 1/2 minutes into the game with a groin injury when he stopped a shot by Derek Morris and went down.

Dallas' top netminder has since been placed on injured reserve and Richard Bachman was recalled from Texas of the AHL to serve as Raycroft's backup. The Stars have yet to reveal a timetable for Lehtonen's return.

Lehtonen has been among the best goaltenders in the NHL this season, notching a 13-4-1 record and a 2.34 goals-against average in 19 games.

"We're all concerned for him, he's played great for us this year," said Raycroft about Lehtonen. "But that's hockey and that's the way it goes and we'll see where he's at, there's still a lot of time left this season."

Lehtonen joins Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski (broken thumb) and forwards Adam Burish (broken hand) and Brenden Morrow (back/elbow) on IR. Dallas blueliner Trevor Daley is also expected to sit out tonight's game with a strained back, while centerman Vernon Fiddler is questionable with a groin injury.

Dallas is 5-6-0 as the guest this season and has lost four straight on the road.