|Record||Goaltender||GAA / SV%|
|Dallas Stars||7-4-0||Anton Khudobin||3.00 / .909|
|Colorado Avalanche||6-4-0||Michael Hutchinson||3.05 / .912|
Once again, the Dallas Stars can close out their 2nd Round series against the Colorado Avalanche with a win in Game 6. After failing to do so in Game 5, and allowing five Avalanche goals in the first period, the Stars cannot allow the momentum to swing in favor of Colorado if they’re hoping to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2008 (mcubed).
Initially, Ben Bishop got the start for Dallas after leaning on Anton Khudobin for the last nine games. Bishop hadn’t played since August 13th in a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames. Conversely, facing elimination, the Avalanche elected to start back-up Michael Hutchinson, who made his NHL Playoff debut on Monday. Just four minutes and 37 seconds into the first, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare gave his Avs an early 1-0 lead. Much of the play in the first period remained in Dallas’ defensive zone, and Colorado heavily outshot the Stars 23-5 in the first frame alone. Then the onslaught came. In a span of three minutes, Colorado put up four more goals, with their 4th of the game having should have been a routine stop for Bishop. At the 11:51 mark, Andre Burakovsky made it 2-0, and 40 seconds later, Nathan MacKinnon gave his team a 3-0 lead. Just over 60 seconds later, Nazem Kadri made it 4-0, Avalanche, and in hopes of stifling Colorado’s offense, Stars bench-boss Rick Bowness pulled Ben Bishop and replaced him with Anton Khudobin as relief. The Stars should have gone with Khudobin from the get-go, but you live and you learn, I suppose. Less than a minute after the 4th goal, Mikko Rantanen made it 5-0 Colorado heading into the second period.
The purpose of a back-up goaltender is to keep the game (and expected loss) respectable. Khudobin did just that. Seven minutes and 50 seconds into the middle frame, Joe Pavelski spoiled Hutchinson’s shutout hopes to make it 5-1. With just under three minutes remaining in the 2nd period, and on their third power play of the evening, Dallas’s Miro Heiskanen made it 5-2. But Andre Burakovsky, with his 2nd of the night, made it 6-2 Avs not even a minute after Heiskanen’s goal. Burakovsky’s goal would be the last goal Colorado scored in the match, but the winner of this one had already been decided in the first period.
The third period saw just one goal, but also featured two Dallas players being kicked out of the game with 10-minute misconduct penalties (Blake Comeau and Joe Pavelski). With Ian Cole in the penalty box for holding, Jamie Benn halved the Avs lead 6-3, and successfully kept Colorado off the board for the remainder of the game.
Interestingly, all six of Colorado’s goals came at even-strength, with the Stars successfully killing off all six Colorado power plays. Meanwhile, two of the Stars’ three goals came on the man-advantage, and Dallas ended up 2-for-6 on the power play for the evening.
It is expected that Anton Khudobin will get the start for Dallas on Wednesday evening, after allowing just two goals on 22 shots. Ben Bishop allowed four goals on 19 shots, for a .789 save percentage.
Below is the remaining schedule for DAL vs COL:
Wednesday September 2 @ 8:00pm EST
Friday September 4 @ TBD