Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Saturday, November 6th
Game 2: Saturday, November 20th
Game 3: Thursday, April 7th
Game 4: Friday, April 8th

Stars 3

(42-28-11, 95 pts)

Avalanche 2

(29-44-8, 66 pts)

9:00 PM ET, April 8, 2011

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
DAL 1 1 13
COL 0 1 12

M. Ribeiro (Stars - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

B. Morrow (Stars - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

B. Yip (Avalanche - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Stars-Avalanche Preview


Dallas is going down to the wire as it tries to lock down one of the Western Conference's final playoff berths.

Scoring at the Pepsi Center for the first time in almost 2 1/2 years would be a huge step in the right direction.

Looking to avoid their third consecutive shutout in Denver, the Stars go for the home-and-home sweep of the Avalanche on Friday night, hours after Colorado captain Adam Foote is expected to announce his retirement.

With a 4-2 victory Thursday, the Stars (41-28-11) have 93 points to tie Calgary for ninth in the West. The Flames have already been eliminated with one game left because of tiebreakers.

That leave Dallas two points behind Chicago and Anaheim. The Ducks are seventh and hold the tiebreaker over the defending Stanley Cup champions, and both clubs have two games remaining.

However, the Stars may have the most favorable schedule. Following this contest, Dallas will travel to Minnesota for Sunday's regular-season finale. Anaheim gets Los Angeles and Chicago will play Detroit in home-and-home sets between bitter rivals starting Friday.

"It's what we play the whole year for," said Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who scored in his third straight game Thursday and leads the club with 31 goals. "That's what all the workouts are for in the summer, to be in position to win the Stanley Cup. We've given ourselves a chance."

It's certainly not going to be easy.

Dallas, which is trying to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008, hasn't scored in its last 132 minutes, 16 seconds at Colorado since Steve Ott's third-period goal in a 4-1 loss on Dec. 26, 2009.

The Stars fell 4-0 to Craig Anderson -- now with Ottawa -- on Jan. 24, 2010, and 5-0 on Nov. 6 as Peter Budaj turned away 31 shots.

For Colorado, the end of an era is at hand with Foote's likely departure.

Drafted in the second round by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989, the 39-year-old has appeared in more regular season (966) and playoff (170) games than any other defenseman in franchise history, and was a member of Colorado's Stanley Cup championship teams in 1996 and 2001.

"I just so appreciated how hard Adam played," said current Stars coach Marc Crawford, who guided Colorado to its first Stanley Cup in its first season after relocating from Quebec City. "What I always liked about Adam is, not to make a pun, but his foot speed was excellent. He could stay with anybody."

Foote also spent two-plus seasons with Columbus before returning to the Avalanche in a February 2008 trade. However, his 19th NHL campaign has been an injury-shortened one -- Foote has been sidelined since March 16 with an injured leg, and has also missed time with a concussion.

While already ruled out of this contest, Foote may suit up Sunday in the season finale at home against league-worst Edmonton.

"Hopefully, he'll get healthy enough to be able to play at least the last game," teammate Milan Hejduk said before Thursday's loss. "He pretty much accomplished everything he ever wanted ... there's not much more to ask for."

Brandon Yip and Mark Olver scored and Matt Duchene had two assists for the Avalanche (29-43-8), who will finish this season with the second-poorest record in the West.

"They were coming with everything they got, they were fighting for their lives, but we had a lot on the line, too," Yip said. "We wanted to play for pride and try to upset them ... unfortunately, we couldn't do that tonight, but we have another chance (Friday), too."