The NHL’s second round of the playoffs is underway as teams try and earn a spot in the Conference Finals. Two games will be up on the board for Wednesday. One of these games will be between the Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars. These two teams will meet in Game 3 of their series on Wednesday night. Puck drop between these two teams will be at around 10:30 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Avalanche finished out the regular season with a record of 42-20-8, which put them in second place of the Western Conference. Colorado went 2-0-1 throughout their round robin games, which kept them in second place of the West. The Avalanche then met up with the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs, where they knocked them off in five games.
Dallas put up a record of 37-24-8 throughout the regular season, which had them in fourth place of the Western Conference. The Stars finished with a record of 1-2 in the round robin, which had them jump to the third seed in the West. Dallas faced the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs, where they moved on in six games.
These two teams have met in two games already, with the Stars jumping out to an impressive 2-0 series lead. Now Dallas will look to take a stranglehold on this series with a win in Game 3. Colorado looked dangerous in the round robin and first round and will now look to avoid a 3-0 deficit. The Avalanche will look to solve the Stars on Wednesday night.
The Stars and the Avalanche met up four times throughout the regular season. The first two games were taken by Dallas by scored of 2-1 and 4-1. The next two games of the season series were later in the season, but saw the same result. The Stars won the last two games both by scores of 3-2, one in overtime and the other in a shootout.
Dallas and Colorado met up in the round robin games on August 5. Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi both had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche. Samuel Girard finished with two assists as Colorado earned an impressive win. Pavel Francouz stopped all 27 shots he faced to help the Avalanche win 4-0.
Game 1 of this series was on August 22. Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals and added an assist, while Samuel Girard and Gabriel Landeskog both had two points as well. It was not enough though as the Stars dominated. Jamie Benn finished with three assists, while Alexander Radulov scored two goals and added an assist. Anton Khudobin stopped 28 of 31 shots as Dallas took Game 1 with a score of 5-3.
Game 2 of this series was on August 24. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen both had a goal and an assist, but it once again was not enough. Alexander Radulov scored a goal and an assist as the Stars rattled off five unanswered goals. Anton Khudobin had a great performance, turning away 38 of the 40 shots he faced as the Stars took a 2-0 series lead with a 5-2 win.
The Avalanche had a strong special team unit this season, despite struggling with injuries at times. Colorado capitalized on 19.1 percent of their power play chances, while killing off 81.4 percent of the penalties against them. The Avalanche have put up strong special team play in the playoffs. Colorado has tallied on 28.9 percent of their power play attempts and have earned an 83.3 percent kill rate.
Dallas had a solid special unit in the regular season. The Stars were able to score on 21.1 percent of their power play opportunities, while they killed off 79.7 percent of the penalties against them. Dallas has put up a strong 22.9 percent power play in the playoffs, while they have killed off 76.9 percent of opposing teams power play chances.
These two teams put up very similar special team numbers in the regular season, but it has been the Avalanche who have put up a better special team unit in the postseason. Colorado and Dallas both scored twice on the power play in Game 2 of this series. If the Avalanche can use special teams more to their advantage in Game 3, it could help them cut the series deficit.
Pavel Francouz will get the start in the crease for Colorado in Game 3 of this series. Francouz finished out the regular season with a record of 21-74. He posted a save percentage of .923 and a 2.41 GAA in those games. In the playoffs, Francouz has put up a .915 save percentage and a GAA of 2.31. Francouz will look to bounce back after a tough Game 2 performance.
Anton Khudobin will get the nod in the net for the Stars on Wednesday night. Khudobin earned a record of 16-8-4 throughout the regular season. He put up a save percentage of .930 and a 2.22 GAA throughout those games. Khudobin has posted a .921 save percentage and a GAA of 2.49 throughout the playoffs.
These two goalies have had to step up as the starting goalies for these respective teams have gone down with injury. Khudobin has played a huge role in Dallas jumping out to this 2-0 series lead, but expect the Avalanche to keep the pressure up. Francouz had a bit of a rough start in Game 2, but I believe he will bounce back in Game 3 of this series.
These two teams have played well throughout this series, but it has been the Stars who are up 2-0. Dallas has gone 6-1 throughout the season against the Avalanche, with the only loss coming in the round robin. I expect Colorado to come out quick in Game 3 as they see this as a do or die game. If Colorado can maintain the momentum throughout, I believe they can post a dominant performance.
BetOnline has the Avalanche listed as a -137 against the money line in this one. This implies that Colorado will win this game around 57.8 percent of the time. I agree with this line, but there is not much value in it. The Avalanche have one of the most dangerous offenses in the league, and I expect them to show up on Wednesday night. Colorado is listed at -1 ½ at +185, which I see a lot of value in.