3 keys: Stars vs. Avalanche, Game 1 of Western Second Round

No. 3 Stars vs. No. 2 Avalanche


The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars will meet in a postseason series for the first time in 14 years as they play Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

This will be the fifth time they play each other in the postseason. They split the first four series, the last coming in 2006 when the Avalanche won the Western Conference Quarterfinals in five games.

The Stars have not reached the Western Conference Final since 2008, and the Avalanche have not advanced to the second round since 2002.

Anton Khudobin is expected to start in goal for the Stars. It will be the fifth consecutive start for Khudobin, who is 4-3-0 with a 2.49 goal-versus-average and .919 save percentage in seven games this postseason. Stars start Ben Bishop is not suitable for play.

The Stars, who trained 2-1 in the Western Conference First Round against the Calgary Flames, won the last three games of the best-of-7 series, including a 7-3 victory in Game 6 on Thursday in Edmonton, the hub of West City. The Avalanche eliminated the Arizona Coyotes with a 7-1 win in Game 5 of their first-round series Wednesday.

Teams that win Game 1 are 485-220 (68.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including a 7-1 record in the first round of this season.

Here are 3 keys for Game 1:

1. Rotate the page

The Avalanche, who defeated the Stars 4-0 in the round robin portion of the qualifying match on August 5, say the Stars are improving with every game this postseason.

“[The Stars] have become better than the [Qualifiers] and playoff is over, ”Avalanche defender Erik Johnson said Friday. “They fought back against Calgary, got some temporary goals, and they’re a veteran team with some really good defenders who put in a lot of minutes and do a lot of heavy lifting for them. They have some guys up front that ‘. “t the puck in the net. It’s probably a heavier series, will probably have some more physicality than we had in the last one. So, we’re looking forward to it.”

2. Kadri flowering

Nazem Kadri has been the productive forward the Avalanche hoped he would be when they acquired him in a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs for defender Tyson Barrie and forward Alexander Kerfoot on July 1, 2019. Kadri has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in eight postseason games, second on the Avalanche to pass Nathan MacKinnon, who has 13 points (four goals, nine assists). Kadri leads the Avalanche with seven power-play points, including five goals for man-advantage.

3. Pavelski’s back

Forward Joe Pavelski is second on the Stars with eight points (six goals, two assists) in nine games this postseason after wrestling in the regular season with 14 goals and 31 points in 67 games. He has scored 54 goals in 143 career games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the third-most in NHL history among American-born players behind Joe Mullen (60) and Mike Modano (58).

“This time of season is special,” Pavelski said Thursday. “You work hard all year to give yourself a chance to be here, and when you get a chance to score a goal in the playoffs it’s always special. You always compete, always try to help your team win, try always take a step. If you want to participate, it’s great. “

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark – Joe Pavelski – Denis Gurianov

Roope HintzJason DickinsonCorey Perry

Andrew CoglianoRadek FaksaBlake Comeau

Esa LindellJohn Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakMiro Heiskanen

Andrej SekeraTaylor Fedun

Anton Khudobin

Jake Oettinger

Skodholle: Nick Caamano, Ty Dellandrea, Justin Dowling, Joel Kiviranta, Jason Robertson, Gavin Bayreuther, Joel Hanley, Thomas Harley, Landon Bow

Unfit to play: Stephen Johns, Ben Bishop

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen

Andre Burakovsky – Nazem Kadri – Joonas Donskoi

Tyson JostJT CompherValeri Nichushkin

Matt NietoPierre- Edouard BellemareMatt Calvert

Ryan GravesCale Makar

Samuel GirardIan Cole

Nikita Zadorov – Erik Johnson

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Skodholle: Mark Barberio, Shane Bowers, Bowen Byram, Kevin Connauton, Sheldon Dries, Michael Hutchinson, Anton Lindholm, Logan O’Connor, Conor Timmins, TJ Tynan

Unfit to play: Vladislav Namestnikov, Colin Wilson

Status report

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Nichushkin was kept out of practice on Friday to rest, but the forward is expected to play in Game 1 … Stars coach Rick Bowness said Janmark, who is playing Game 6 against the Flames missed after hitting a shot with his foot in the block Game 5, is a decision about game time. … Kiviranta took his place for Game 6.