Nathan MacKinnon was named the NHL’s No. 1 Star of the Month for November and looks to get going after a slow start to December when his Colorado Avalanche host the Central Division-rival Dallas Stars on Sunday night. MacKinnon accumulated five goals and 15 assists in 12 games during November, but was kept off the scoresheet in Friday’s 2-1 loss to New Jersey despite five shots on net.
MacKinnon won’t have one of his linemates as captain Gabriel Landeskog will sit out the third contest of a four-game suspension for an illegal hit and Nail Yakupov took the spot in Friday’s setback with Mikko Rantanen on the other side. The Avalanche look to turn things around after losing two of the first three contests on their five-game homestand and must raise their level of play against the Stars, who have won four in a row and six of their last seven outings. Dallas extended its winning streak by sweeping a home-and-home series with Chicago, taking the first in overtime and the second 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night. Ben Bishop allowed 13 goals while starting each of the last seven games but could give way Sunday to backup Kari Lehtonen, who has not played since Nov. 18.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), Altitude (Colorado)
ABOUT THE STARS (15-10-1): Center Radek Faksa notched his fifth goal in three games Saturday and became the third player to reach 10 on the team, following Tyler Seguin (12) and Jamie Benn (11). Seguin tops the team with 25 points after posting an assist Saturday and owns four goals in six games while Alexander Radulov scored last time out to push his total to 23 points. Center Martin Hanzal (hamstring) is considered week-to-week and Antoine Roussel (illness) sat out Saturday as fellow forward Curtis McKenzie was recalled.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (12-10-2): Forward J.T. Compher scored Friday and has three of his four on the season in his last seven contests, registering eight points in 18 games overall. MacKinnon tops the team with 28 points with the 21-year-old Rantanen eight behind him and defenseman Tyson Barrie at 19 after recording three assists in the last four games. Veteran defenseman Erik Johnson, who has been held off the scoresheet in four straight outings, is slated to play his 600th NHL game Sunday.
1. The teams have already met three times this season with the Avalanche taking the last two at home, including a 3-0 triumph Nov. 22.
2. Dallas has turned its season around despite struggling on the power play, which is 2-for-31 over the last nine games.
3. Colorado F Colin Wilson (hip) missed his second consecutive contest Friday and coach Jared Bednar told reporters he is day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Stars 3, Avalanche 2