EDMONTON, ALBERTA – For the fifth time since 1999, the Avalanche and Dallas Stars will meet in a playoff series.
The Stars’ series closeout victory of Calgary Thursday night means the Avalanche will play them in the second round of the Western Conference NHL playoffs. The dates and times of the series have yet to be announced.
The Avalanche beat Dallas in the round-robin portion of the postseason, which helped them get the No. 2 seed in the West. Dallas went 2-0-2 against the Avs in the regular season, however.
The Stars have a veteran team, but also some good young talent, especially on defense. John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen are excellent two-way defenders who will present the Avs with a tougher challenge in that area than the Arizona Coyotes could.
The Avs are a faster team, though, and Dallas will have a tough time keeping up in a 60-minute game. The Avs totally dominated the Stars for much of that round-robin game, though the stakes are higher now and the Stars most definitely cannot be taken lightly.
Dallas has been playing of late without No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop, who has been unfit to play. The Stars have had to go with veteran backup Anton Khudobin. The Stars have a great first line, with Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov. The talent thins out some after that on the forward lines, but veterans such as Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry are proven, tough playoff performers.
This won’t be an easy series, but the Avs figure to be favored.
The all-time playoff series record is 2-2. Dallas won back-to-back Western Conference finals in 1999 and 2000, each in seven games. The Avs beat Dallas in back-to-back seasons (2004-06) in five games apiece.
The Avalanche will have “home-ice advantage” for the series, which obviously doesn’t have the same impact with the entire playoffs here in Edmonton. But it’s worth something. The Avs will have last change in four of the seven potential games, along with a much nicer dressing room in those games, and more of a homey feel with Jake Schroeder singing the national anthem and more team-produced, in-arena Jumbotron videos and things like that.