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RAPID REACTION: The Avalanche Are Very Good, The Stars Are Just Better



Avalanche Stars

I have a lot of thoughts running through my very tired head after the Colorado Avalanche fell in overtime to the Dallas Stars.

Dallas had and has young guys on cheap contracts that are already difference makers for them. Colorado really doesn’t. For as good as I felt Alexandar Georgiev was in this series, Jake Oettinger was just better. Dallas’ depth and ability to roll four lines kept them a little fresher, especially in Game Six, which turned out to be a big difference.

In the end, the Colorado Avalanche had a very good team. They’ve got stars, they supplemented those stars with some talent throughout the lineup, and their goaltending wasn’t an issue in this series.

Dallas is just better, and it’s okay to say that.

There’s a reason why the Avalanche were trying to trade for Chris Tanev prior to the trade deadline, and we saw it this series. He hung with Nathan MacKinnon for six games and gave him no space to work with. And when Tanev wasn’t there to slow him down, you’ve got Miro Heiskanen, a top 10 defenseman, and young Thomas Harley there as well.

The biggest difference in this series might have been up front. In Game Six, which went to double overtime, the Avalanche had four forwards play more than the Stars forward leader in ice-time. In a game that went over 90 minutes, the fourth line for Colorado didn’t even hit 10 minutes of ice-time. The low man on the totem pole for the Stars up front was Radek Faksa, who still played 15 minutes. That depth mattered when the game went to extra time. Dallas seemed like they had an extra gear, while the Avalanche looked tired.

And that’s one big reason why Colorado’s season has come to an end.

The loss of Valeri Nichushkin was indeed a big deal for the Avalanche, and can’t be overlooked, but the Stars lost Roope Hintz, a center who scored 30 goals this season and matches up against the other teams top forwards. While they’re different players, their on-ice impacts aren’t all that different, especially when Hintz plays what most would consider to be the more valuable position. Dallas had players they could move to center to help out, while Colorado had to depend a 39 year old to fill out their top six.

Colorado’s one big advantage (star players) didn’t end up being much of an advantage after all. MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Makar were all limited by Dallas, and that the Avalanche just didn’t have enough to overcome it. Full credit to Pete DeBoer for putting together a gameplan that would slow down some of the best players in the world.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this Avalanche team was indeed very good. They’re a super talented team that, in my opinion, would have found a way to get past either of the teams still playing from the Pacific.

They won’t get that opportunity, because the Stars are just better.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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