(SportsNetwork.com) - The fading Colorado Avalanche hope to avoid recording their longest losing streak of the season on Saturday night in a home matchup with a Dallas Stars club that comes limping into Pepsi Center.
The Avalanche have matched their longest skid of the season with four straight losses, with each setback of this current streak coming in regulation. That has Colorado last in the Central Division and eight points back of a wild card spot.
The Stars, meanwhile, are five points ahead of the Avs in the standings.
The Avs opened a four-game homestand on Thursday and dropped a 6-3 decision to the New York Rangers despite goals from Jarome Iginla and Jan Hejda in the third period that tied the contest at 3-3. The Rangers went back ahead for good less than two minutes after Hejda's tally with 9:16 to play.
Iginla assisted on the game-tying tally and his goal tied him with Mark Recchi on the NHL's all-time goals list with 577.
Gabriel Landeskog also scored and Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves on 30 shots faced in defeat.
"Our confidence was not there," Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said. "My job is to turn this around. We do not like to lose after coming back from two (goals) down."
Varlamov will get a chance to rebound tonight and is 7-3-2 lifetime versus the Stars with a 3.09 goals against average and .906 save percentage in 12 meetings.
Colorado has won four straight over Dallas, including the first three of five meetings this season, and seven of the last eight encounters overall. The Avs have taken five straight as the host as well.
The Stars are expected to be without several key players tonight, including forward Tyler Seguin after he was hurt in last night's 2-0 win over the Florida Panthers.
Seguin was injured when he took a low hit to the knees by Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov with 6:55 to play. He was set to be re-evaluated on Saturday.
The 23-year-old ranks third in the NHL with 59 points and is tied for fourth with 29 goals.
"It's a dirty shot," Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff said of Kulikov's hit, which earned the Florida blueliner a major penalty for clipping and game misconduct. "It's something that ended up taking your best player out of the game. Not only out of the game, but it's taking him out of the lineup for a little bit."
Dallas also lost forwards Patrick Eaves and Ales Hemsky to injury in the game, with those two along with Seguin expected to miss some time with their ailments. Hemsky exited early in the contest with a lower-body injury, while Eaves, who has a history with concussions, was hit in the head by a shot and taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
Dallas was already without forward Antoine Roussel, who was serving the first contest of a two-game suspension for a cross-check against Boston on Tuesday, but Kari Lehtonen helped his short-handed club by making 37 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.
Both Seguin and Eaves were placed on injured reserve Saturday, with forwards Brett Ritchie and Travis Morin recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.
Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza scored for the Stars, who have won three in a row for the first time since a four-game run from Dec. 27-Jan. 3.
Despite Lehtonen's 31st career shutout, Jhonas Enroth is expected to make his Stars debut in net tonight. He was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday for netminder Andres Lindback and a 2016 third-round pick.
Enroth, 26, had a 13-21-2 record with a 3.27 GAA and .903 save percentage in 37 games this season for the league-worst Sabres. He is 0-1-0 lifetime versus the Avalanche with a 4.72 GAA and .824 save percentage in two meetings (1 start).