(Sports Network) - With Mike Ribeiro's goal drought now behind him, the Dallas Stars hope the center can help them get on the board against the Colorado Avalanche for the first time this season as the clubs clash tonight at American Airlines Center.
Ribeiro went the first 16 games this season without a goal, though he did tally 14 assists in that span before scoring twice in Thursday's 5-4 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Dallas rallied from two goals down in the third period as James Neal and Ribeiro scored 29 seconds apart late in the frame to force overtime, where the latter won it 2:52 into the frame.
"It felt great," Ribeiro said. "I've had slumps in my career in the middle of a season. ... When you go 16 at the beginning of the year, it's a little bit harder. It gets to you. I was a little bit frustrated the last few games, too. The boys kept joking with me, kept me smiling and stayed positive with me."
Neal scored twice and Brad Richards added a goal and an assist for the Stars, who had lost three straight -- all on the road -- before taking the first two contests of a three-game homestand. Dallas is 7-3-0 at home and 4-0 in games beyond regulation this season.
Kari Lehtonen turned away 35 shots to earn the victory for the Stars and is 3-0-0 with a 1.87 goals-against average in his career versus the Avalanche.
He was not in net when Dallas suffered a 5-0 loss in Colorado on Nov. 6, the Avalanche's fourth victory in the last five meetings between the clubs. Colorado has lost seven of its last nine at Dallas though.
Ribeiro has just three goals and 11 points in 17 career games versus the Avalanche, while Neal, who scored for the first time in seven games on Thursday, has just one goal in nine games.
Colorado's Peter Budaj made 31 saves versus Dallas for his first shutout of the season, part of a string of 10 straight starts for the netminder due to a knee injury suffered by No. 1 Craig Anderson.
Anderson, who hurt his knee in pregame warmups on Oct. 26, returned to action last night and made 25 saves in a 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers.
"I think timing wasn't an issue," Anderson said. "I think it was more of getting back out there and getting into rhythm. The guys out there allowed me to see the puck tonight and any rebounds I left they were there to clean them up."
It is unknown who will get the start tonight for the Avalanche.
Matt Duchene scored and assisted on two other tallies during a four-goal second period for Colorado. His run came after he was hit in the head by the stick of New York's Ruslan Fedotenko that briefly sent the Avalanche forward to the locker room despite no penalty being called.
David Jones, Kevin Porter, Daniel Winnik and Kevin Shattenkirk also found the back of the net for the Avalanche, who swept their three-game homestand to post their longest winning streak of the season.
Colorado plays three straight and eight of its next 10 on the road and is 5-3-1 as the visiting club this season.