The NHL is underway with round 2 of the playoffs. Only eight teams remain in the battle for the Stanley Cup. Two games will be up on the board for Monday night, one of them being between the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars were able to roll through the Avalanche in Game 1 and will look to take a 2-0 series lead. This game will drop the puck at around 9:45 PM Eastern time.
The Stars finished out the regular season with a record of 37-24-8, which had them in fourth place of the Western Conference. Dallas went 1-2 throughout their seeding games, which bumped them up to third. The Stars faced a strong Calgary Flames team in the first round and were able to knock them off in a tough six game series. Now Dallas will look to move forward with a win in this one.
Colorado finished with a record of 42-20-8 this season, which had them in second place of the Western Conference. The Avalanche went 2-0-1 throughout their seeding games, which kept them in second place. Colorado met up with the Arizona Coyotes in the first round and made quick work of them in five games. The Avalanche will look to bounce back with a win in Game 2 to tie up this series.
These two teams had done well throughout the regular season, jumping into the top of the Conference. Dallas and Colorado are now both looking to move forward in the playoffs with a win in this series. The Stars and the Avalanche have met up plenty throughout the season and the playoffs, which gives them both a good idea of what to game plan for in this series. I expect an exciting series to unfold.
The Stars and the Avalanche met up four times throughout the regular season this year. The Stars earned 2-1 and 4-1 wins in the first two games of the series early. Dallas kept up their success in the third and fourth game, but needed extra time to do it. The Stars won 3-2 in the last two games of the season series to sweep Colorado in the regular season.
Dallas and Colorado also met up once in the round robin play on August 5. The Avalanche finally found some success against the Stars in this one. Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi both had a goal and an assist to help propel Colorado to a win. Pavel Francouz stopped all 27 shots he faced as the Avalanche pulled off a 4-0 win.
Game 1 of this series was on August 22. Nathan MacKinnon had a great performance for Colorado scoring two goals and an assist, while Gabriel Landeskog finished with a goal and an assist. It was not enough to take the game though. Alexander Radulov had two goals and an assist to help the Stars win. Jamie Benn finished with three assists, while Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win for Dallas.
The Stars have had Colorado’s number all season long. Dallas has won five of the six games they have played against the Avalanche throughout this season. The Stars will look to keep up this success as they try and knock off Colorado to move on to the next round.
The Stars had a solid special team unit throughout the regular season. Dallas earned a power play success rate of 21.1 percent in the regular season, while killing off 79.7 percent of the penalties against them. The Stars have scored on 18.8 percent of their power play chances in the playoffs, and have stopped opposing teams on 77.4 percent of their opportunities.
Colorado did well on special teams this season. The Avalanche’s power play capitalized on 19.1 percent of their attempts in the regular season. Colorado also earned an 81.4 percent kill rate on the penalty kill. The Avalanche have had the best special teams this postseason, tallying goals on 29.7 percent of their power play chances, and killing off 88.9 percent of the power plays against them.
The Avalanche have a nice advantage in this series when it comes to special teams. Colorado’s power play has been unstoppable in the playoffs, while also killing off most of the penalties against them. If the Avalanche can frustrate Dallas by getting a lead early, it will give Colorado a good chance to take over on special teams.
Anton Khudobin has been the backbone for Dallas in this postseason run. Khudobin put up a record of 16-8-4 as the backup in the regular season. He earned a .930 save percentage and a 2.22 GAA throughout those starts. In the playoffs, Khudobin has earned a save percentage of .917 and a GAA of 2.55, while filling in for the injured Ben Bishop.
Pavel Francouz will get the start for the Avalanche in Game 2 of this series. Francouz earned a record of 21-7-4 throughout his starts in the regular season. He posted a save percentage of .923 and a 2.41 GAA in those games. Francouz has played well in his three appearances this postseason. He has put up a .941 save percentage and a GAA of 1.59.
These two goalies were backups to start out the playoffs, but now will look to lead their team throughout this series. Khudobin has played most of the Stars games this postseason, while Francouz has stepped up after Grubauer went down in Game 1 of this series. Both goalies will look to keep up the strong play in a pivotal Game 2.
The Stars took an impressive win in Game 1 of this series, but I expect Colorado to bounce back in Game 2. The Avalanche showed their pure dominance in their last two games against Arizona, winning by a combined 14-2. Colorado seemed to be a bit too comfortable in Game 1, but do not expect them to make that mistake again. I expect the Avalanche to settle into this one better to tie up the series.
BetOnline has Colorado listed as a -160 against the money line for this one. This implies that the Avalanche will win this game around 61.5 percent of the time. I think these odds are right, but there is not a lot of value. I expect Colorado to come out strong and dominate. If the Avalanche can control this game, I think the best value is at -1 ½ at +160.