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Old 11-16-2007, 06:32 PM   #71
Bronx33
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Default Avalanche-Stars Nov 16, 2007, 8:30 PM EST



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The Dallas Stars are usually one of the best home teams in the NHL. That hasn't been nearly the case this season.

The Stars look to avoid their first five-game home losing streak in nearly 29 years Friday night when they face the Colorado Avalanche, who have struggled on the road so far.

The Stars franchise has not lost five in a row at home since Nov. 15-29, 1978, when the team was the Minnesota North Stars, and Dallas is two home losses shy of the franchise record set from Jan. 17-Feb. 4, 1970. Since moving to Texas for the 1993-94 season, the Stars are 304-140-16 with 65 ties at home, giving them the third-most such wins in the NHL during that span.

Dallas (7-7-4) hasn't added to that total since a 3-1 victory over Anaheim on Oct. 20, though. The Stars opened the season 3-0-1 at the American Airlines Center before dropping the next four games there, including a 4-3 shootout loss to San Jose on Wednesday.

The defeat was the third in a row overall (0-1-2) and sixth in eight games for the Stars, who were playing for the first time since general manager Doug Armstrong was fired Tuesday and replaced with former Star Brett Hull and assistant GM Les Jackson as co-interim general managers.

Owner Tom Hicks also moved team president Jim Lites into a full-time role in his sports marketing firm Wednesday, and gave Lites' old job to Jeff Cogen, who held the same position for Hicks' baseball team, the Texas Rangers.

"We had some good chances to win this one," Stars coach Dave Tippett said of Wednesday's loss. "When changes happen like they did, you wonder how people are going to respond, but our goal was to push forward and worry about the things on the ice."

Dallas has been outscored 18-9 during the home slide.

The Stars need a better effort from Marty Turco as they try to get things turned around. Turco, who committed a puck-handling error against the Sharks that led to the opening goal by Torrey Mitchell, has a 4.48 goals-against average in the last three games.

Turco struggled in a season-opening 4-3 loss to Colorado on Oct. 3, allowing four goals on 23 shots.

On the offensive end, Stars captain Brendan Morrow has three goals and two assists in the last three games, giving him 18 points to tie Mike Ribeiro for the team lead. Morrow was held without a point in the last meeting with the Avalanche, but has four goals in his last three home matchups with them.

Dallas has won three in a row against Colorado at the American Airlines Center, scoring 17 goals in those games.

The first-place Avs (11-5-1), who are 2-4-1 on the road, have been off since Sunday's 4-2 home win over Minnesota. Paul Stastny continued his outstanding early season play with two goals and an assist, giving him team bests of nine goals and 22 points. His 13 assists are tied for the club lead.

"He makes plays," said Avalanche left wing Ryan Smyth, who had a goal and an assist. "The puck doesn't die with him. Collectively, we're playing well together."

Stastny's performance ended a two-game point drought. The 21-year-old center started the season in impressive fashion against Dallas, recording his first career hat trick in the Avs' 4-3 victory.

The Avs have won three of their last four.
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