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Avalanche-Stars: Hope You Like Fireworks!

If Game One was any indication, this Second Round series will be fun, high-scoring, and one that hop

May 08 2024

The series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars was expected to be a back-and-forth one with more than enough exciting moments. One game in and it’s already exceeding the hype.

In case you were asleep, here’s a rundown of the first game.

      The Stars jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period of play.

      The Avalanche scored two goals in the second period and one in the third to force overtime.

      The Avalanche took the game in overtime and completed the comeback with a Miles Wood goal on the rush.

The Avalanche skaters celebrating the win after Game One. SOURCE: COLORADO AVALANCHE (TWITTER/X)

Words fail to describe the moments, so here’s what the last goal looked like. Keep in mind that Wood is one of the depth players, not a superstar by any means. 

Expect this series to not only have plenty of fireworks but also be a clash in styles. The Avalanche and the Stars have built Cup contenders yet have taken different approaches to end up where they are. 

Avalanche Are a Flawed Team & It Doesn’t Matter

The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2022 with a complete roster, one with stars leading the way and depth skaters stepping up as well. This team is not the same, not even close. The depth is non-existent.

 Yet, this team remains one of the best in the NHL. Why? They have four of the top 20 skaters in the NHL. Devon Toews is one of the best defensemen in the league and he’s the fourth-best on his own team. Mikko Rantanen is one of the best forwards and is overlooked. Meanwhile, Nathan MacKinnon is a Hart Trophy finalist and Cale Makar is a Norris Trophy finalist.

Cale Makar just as overtime begins. He scored a goal and added two assists in Game One. SOURCE: COLORADO AVALANCHE (TWITTER/X)

They are the definition of a top-heavy roster and the results showed this season. The Avalanche went 50-25-7 to finish in third place in the division. 

MacKinnon carried the offense with 51 goals and 89 assists while Makar made a difference on both ends of the ice with 21 goals and 69 assists but also 4.1 defensive point shares and 148 blocked shots. The Avalanche aren’t a well-built team but have the stars to bail them out and they have. 

Stars Have Star Power & Depth

 There’s a reason the Stars finished the season with a 52-21-9 record which was the best record in the Western Conference. They were a machine with no glaring weakness. Just one stat that speaks volumes (there are a lot of them) is that they had eight skaters score 20 goals or more.

 Their offense is led by Jason Robertson, a rising star in the league at 24 years old, while the defense is anchored by Thomas Harley and Miro Heiskanen. Throw is 20-year-old scorer Wyatt Johnston and the Stars have four core players who are 25 or younger leading the way.

Jake Oettinger (29), Ty Dellandrea (10), and Matt Duchene (95) are all catching a breather in game One.  SOURCE: DALLAS STARS (TWITTER/X)

But this isn’t a team highlighted by their elite talent. They have plenty of depth on both ends of the ice. The forward unit has veterans Joe Pavelski and Jamie Benn stepping up while the defense has Ese Lindell and Ryan Suter rounding out the unit. In the net, goaltender Jake Oettinger is the unquestioned starter but if needed, Scott Wedgewood can fill in as a backup. 

The only weakness all season was depth defense and they addressed that issue at the trade deadline. The Stars acquired veteran skater Chris Tanev in a trade and the unit has been dominant ever since, making the team look unbeatable.

Game One as a Series Indicator

 We’re only one game into this series and there are a few things that stand out, aside from the fact that it will be fun to watch. Elite players will impact every shift and at any moment, any of them can take over the game. No lead is safe, something the Stars learned firsthand when they blew the 3-0 lead. On top of all that, there will be plenty of goals, so hopefully you like offense. 

Series Prediction

The Avalanche took the first game and it’s easy to think that they will win this series as well. However, there are a few things working in the Stars' favor, and expect a rebound.

The Stars have the depth advantage and as this series drags on, it will start to show. Alexandar Georgiev has stepped up in the net for the Avalanche, allowing only 11 goals in his last four starts but Oettinger is the better goaltender and eventually will take over this series. The elite players on the Stars haven’t made an impact in the playoffs yet and they are due.

So, expect the Stars to still take this one in a hard-fought seven-game series.

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