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Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Lack Execution, Killer Instinct In 4-1 Loss To Stars

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Avalanche Stars

For the first time since the days between Games One and Two in Winnipeg, the Avalanche find themselves in the precarious position of trailing in a series. And this time, they really don’t have anyone to blame but themselves.

Colorado controlled the majority of the play through 40 minutes, but a lack of execution and an ugly powerplay didn’t allow them to take advantage of the chances they were given. Just a few minutes after Colorado tied the game in the second, Dallas scored the go-ahead goal and never looked back, suffocating the home team in the third period on their way to a 4-1 victory. The Stars now lead the series 2-1 and have an opportunity to take a stranglehold of the series on Monday night.

Mikko Rantanen scored the lone goal for Colorado, but all the work on the play was done by Nathan MacKinnon and Devon Toews. Alexandar Georgiev was solid in net, stopping 19 of the 21 shots he faced.

First Period

Colorado was given every opportunity to get off to a hot start at home. Multiple powerplay opportunities, all the momentum, and the crowd behind them. It was all there.

It just didn’t happen.

While Colorado controlled a large portion of the shot attempts at even strength, most of them seemed to come from the outside. Their hard work allowed them to draw a few penalties, including the Stars getting a too many men penalty of their own. However, that man advantage was not sharp at all.

On the first attempt, MacKinnon looked to have an empty net to shoot at, but Chris Tanev got over just in time to block it. The rest of the powerplay wasn’t so great, with Jamie Benn getting a shorthanded breakaway that Georgiev had to make a big save on. Powerplay opportunity number two wasn’t much better, with missed passes on zone entries all over the place. Their best opportunity of the period came late on that powerplay and off the rush, as a MacKinnon tip towards the net snuck through Oettinger, but never fully crossed the goal line.

Failure to capitalize on those opportunities ended up biting them, as did some turnovers. After a solid shift in the offensive zone, Colorado got stuck in their own end and couldn’t clear the zone. MacKinnon tried to pass it up the middle, but it appeared to bounce over Toews’ stick and right to the Stars. Logan Stankoven picked it up and his shot snuck through Georgiev, giving the Stars the 1-0 lead. That would make it three straight games where the Stars would get themselves on the scoreboard first.

Second Period

Colorado started the period with a powerplay, but it went about as poorly as the first two did, leading to the fans to get a little restless. When Brandon Duhaime took a penalty in the neutral zone, it looked like the Avalanche might have wasted another glorious opportunity.

The penalty kill came through, though. Georgiev made a big save with his head, and Sam Girard was the star of the penalty kill, blocking some shots and taking away passing lanes. When Duhaime got out of the box, he took the puck to the net and suddenly, the crowd was back in it. One minute later, the stars finally broke through.

Devon Toews, just like he did in Game Five against Winnipeg, entered the zone and slowed down. He hit MacKinnon, who circled back to the top of the slot, picked up the pass and dangled through Chris Tanev. His backhand shot was stopped, but Rantanen was there to clean up the rebound, making it 1-1 and getting the fans back into the game.

A few minutes later, Nichushkin hit the post off a nice passing play. Just when it looked like Colorado had all the momentum, the Stars capitalized on a perfect rush play. Evgeni Dadonov hit Tyler Seguin on the backdoor, who Cogliano couldn’t tie up, and the Stars forward gave his team the 2-1 lead.

Despite outshooting the Stars 23-13 after two, Colorado found themselves trailing heading into the third.

Third Period

The Stars found another gear in the third, and that gear including packing it in through the neutral zone, sitting back in a 1-2-2. In the past, that has been an achilles heal for the Avalanche, and it was again this time. The Stars forced Colorado to dump the puck in, but that’s not how the Avalanche want to play, and they struggled to generate any offense in the final period. Oettinger stopped all seven shots sent his way in the third and that was the end of it all.

Seguin and Stankoven each added empty net goals, giving the Stars the 4-1 victory and the 2-1 series lead.

Game Four between these two teams will take place on Monday at 7:30 PM MST.

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ricoflashback

Let’s face it. The Stars are a better team, a more skilled team throughout all four lines. Mittelstadt and Sean Walker are a step in the right direction. Trenin, Duhaime and Parise are nice regular season additions but make zero difference in the playoffs where skill is at a premium. A good effort but not good enough. And can the Avs make a couple passes in a row without fumbling the puck? Especially Rants who looks like he has boxing gloves on out there. If the Avs were busboys in a busy restaurant, they’d be using paper plates by the… Read more »

Brian

Well, that more skilled throughout all four lines did blow a 3 goal lead at home and almost bettered that by blowing a four goal lead also at home , let’s not put too much emphasis on one game, every team has bad games in the playoffs, nobody goes undefeated. Definitely not their best effort tonight.

ricoflashback

Let me explain it to you clearer. It’s not just one game. When you never, EVER, have a lead “in game” for three successive games, you are being dominated. The Avs were very lucky to escape Game 1 with a win. Otherwise, Dallas would be going for a four game sweep tomorrow.

hockeyhead

Totally Frustrating! I am not very hopeful they can figure this out. Obviously Game 4 is a must win!

Joe Cerwinske

That 3rd period was ugly, but the Avs just seemed a bit off all night. On that power play were MacKinnon’s one-timer was blocked, it actually looked like it would have headed straight into Oettinger, and not into the empty net. And that 2 on 1 with Mikko and Nate, I bet 29 buries that 9 times out of 10, but he was just a bit off all night. I would also say that was one of Lehkonen’s worst games in an Avs sweater. He had a couple horrible off-target passes on the PP, including the one that almost led… Read more »

Dave North

Good analysis. I was also surprised at how out of place Lehkonen looked. I haven’t seen any official stats, but he seemed to turn over the puck a lot, making passing plays to phantom players. JJ was another player who was a mess out there. He must have missed on at leat 10 clearing attempts in the game, allowing the Stars to sustain pressure in the Avs’ zone.

Glendon Gulliver

It looked like MacKinnon mishit it and it went right of the open net and hit Tanev, not a save by Tanev. Agree that Lehkonen looked out of it, but then so did most of the Avs. Bad passes, unable to corral the pass, unable to clear the puck, and as Evan said, unable to dump the puck in. The last two have been weaknesses all year.

Mark Messier

Avs are a gutless bunch. Not hungry enough to do the work. MacKinnon was bad except for the one play. MiAkko was worse. More boneheaded plays.

Stars are older and less skilled but hungrier…

Ari Sachter-Smith

Timing was an issue all night, seemed like they were over thinking everything instead of just making the smart simple play and letting their speed dictate the game

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