Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche: Game 3 Preview

 RecordGoaltenderGAA / SV%
Dallas Stars6-4-0Anton Khudobin2.00 / .950
Colorado Avalanche6-2-1Pavel Francouz4.29 / .846

With a commanding two games to none lead over the Colorado Avalanche, the Dallas Stars are looking to win their 6th straight playoff game on Wednesday. Dallas has outscored their opponent 10 to 5 in two games versus the Aves, and since their series clincher versus the Flames, their goals for/against is a staggering 17 to 8.

On Monday evening, Dallas again went with Anton Khudobin in between the pipes as Ben Bishop still is ‘unfit to play’. With Aves goaltender Philipp Grubauer suffering an undisclosed injury in Game 1, Pavel Francouz got the start after coming in as relief (in Game 1).  Francouz statistically was the better of the two goaltenders, but head coach Jared Bednar went with his tried-and-true starter to begin the post-season. Without Erik Johnson and Matt Calvert, Kevin Connauton made the lineup for the Aves. This time, it was Colorado that got on the board first, as Nathan MacKinnon made it 1-0 with his 7th of the post-season, on the power play, at the 6:08 mark of the first. As previously speculated, this series would likely be decided on each organizations’ special teams. Game 2 fulfilled that expectation. This one was a penalty-filled match, as Colorado received two power plays in the first period, including a stint of 4-on-4, four in the second, and two in the third (eight total). Meanwhile, Dallas had three opportunities with the man-advantage.

On Colorado’s fourth power-play opportunity, Mikko Rantanen made it 2-0 Aves at the 8:44 mark of the middle frame (Pavelski, slashing). Just moments later, with Samuel Girard in the penalty box for slashing, and Ian Cole for interference, Joe Pavelski answered right back with his 7th of the post-season, a Dallas Stars 5-on-3 power play goal, to make it 2-1. Less than 90 seconds later, at the 10:37 mark, Radek Faksa tied the game, again on the power-play, making it 2-2. Five minutes after Faksa’s tying goal, Alexander Radulov scored his 5th of the post-season and third in two games, giving Dallas their first lead of the evening. Continuing the onslaught was Esa Lindell who extended his teams’ lead to a score of 4-2 at the 19:14 mark of the second. There’s something about a trailing Dallas Stars team that seems to light a fire under the players that simply, I don’t know, motivates them to prove everyone wrong. And it has been quite the sight to see versus a team with as much talent as Colorado.

Despite being held to just three shots on goal in the third, after peppering the Aves with 18 in the second, Khudobin and his Stars held off the Avalanche for the entirety of the final frame. Colorado out-shot Dallas 40-27 through 60 minutes, but the Stars held their own after throwing 60 hits to the Aves 29. Esa Lindell led the Stars with eight hits. The Avalanche received a late power play with 2:56 remaining, and Colorado was extremely bold as they pulled Francouz for the extra skater as well, but with 10 seconds left, Jamie Oleksiak sealed the deal with an empty net-goal to make it 5-2.

Khudobin made 38 saves on 40 shots to end his night with a .950 save percentage, and was the #1 Star of the game. Francouz allowed four goals on 26 shots.

Per Avalanche head-coach Jared Bednar, Philipp Grubauer (G) and Erik Johnson (D) will be out indefinitely, after suffering injuries in Game 1 versus the Stars. Bednar declined to comment with specific details about the injuries, but suggested that neither will be ready to go before the end of the series.

Below is the remaining schedule for DAL v COL:

Wednesday August 26 @ 10:30pm

Friday August 28 @ 10:00pm

Sunday August 30 @ TBD

Monday August 31 @ TBD

Wednesday September 2 @ TBD

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