Avs hope to continue home mastery of Stars

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche will try to rebound on Saturday night with a fourth straight home victory over the Dallas Stars as the two Central Division rivals clash at Pepsi Center.

Saturday marks the first of five meetings this season between the clubs and the Avalanche went 4-1-0 in the 2013-14 series. Colorado netted nine goals in the two meetings in Denver and have won 10 of the last 14 versus Dallas at home.

The Avalanche were denied a third straight victory overall with a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. Ryan O'Reilly and Max Talbot scored in defeat as the 'Hawks netted the game-winning goal with 5:17 to play.

Calvin Pickard stopped 42 shots in his second career NHL start as Colorado went 0-for-2 on the power play, while Chicago scored twice on six chances up a man.

"It was a great effort tonight, but it would have been nice if we had more power plays," said Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with a facial fracture. "When we were 5-on-5, we played them even."

Defenseman Erik Johnson was unable to play on Wednesday because of an upper- body injury, but could return for this game. Center John Mitchell, meanwhile, could suit up for the first time in four games because of a leg ailment.

Pickard is expected to start again tonight over Reto Berra as No. 1 goaltender Semyon Varlamov remains out with a groin issue. Varlamov could return to the active roster next week.

Pickard, though, is making a case to stay as the backup, going 2-3-0 with a 2.24 goals against average and .933 save percentage in five games with two starts this season.

Dallas had a three-game winning streak snapped Friday by visiting Minnesota, but head coach Lindy Ruff was pleased with the way his team rallied for a point in the 5-4 overtime loss.

The Wild led 3-0 after Mikael Granlund's goal at 11:47 of the second period, but Dallas scored four unanswered to take the lead. Tyler Seguin recorded his league-leading 18th goal of the season during the comeback, which also featured markers from Alex Goligoski, Erik Cole and Ales Hemsky.

Thomas Vanek, however, would get the equalizer for Minnesota with just 1:52 remaining in regulation and Marco Scandella tallied the winner 2:04 into the extra session.

Seguin also added an assist in the loss, while Kari Lehtonen stopped 29-of-34 shots.

"We battled for a point, which is awesome," Ruff said.

The Stars are opening a three-game road trip tonight and are 5-4-0 as the guest this season. Dallas also will visit Toronto and Detroit on the swing.