It all started out exactly how it was supposed to. It looked like the Avalanche responded well to head coach Jared Bednar’s scathing criticism after Game 1, when he called out half the team for not showing up to play, and in Game 2 his team came out looking like the Avs of Round 1. Colorado came out hot, Nathan MacKinnon led the charge — as always — as the Avs outshot the Stars 19-6 by the end of the first period, and took with them a 1-0 lead into intermission.
During the first-intermission broadcast, MacKinnon was asked by an NBC analyst whether or not he thought the entire team — not just half — showed up to play tonight. “Absolutely. I think everyone’s engaged,” MacKinnon told him. “It’s just some guys weren’t feeling it (in Game 1). It takes a full team to win especially against a good team like Dallas.”
Just as they did in the first, the Avalanche came out flying, earned another man advantage and cashed in quickly on a Mikko Rantanen goal to double the Avs lead.
Special teams really were the difference maker in this game. The Avalanche are the NHL’s best special-teams unit in the postseason so far. They’re No. 1 on the power play and their PK unit is the best of the teams still left in the bubble. Monday night, however, the Dallas Stars units were the ones that shined.