canada africa partner reservation Avalanche without execution, killer instinct in 4-1 loss against stars

Avalanche without execution, killer instinct in 4-1 loss against stars

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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 have no one to blame but themselves.

Colorado controlled most of the game for 40 minutes, but a lack of execution and an ugly power play prevented them from taking advantage of the opportunities they had. Just a few minutes after Colorado tied the game in the second, Dallas scored the go-ahead goal and never looked back, stifling the home team in the third period en route to a 4-1 victory. The Stars now lead the series 2-1 and have a chance to take a stranglehold on the series on Monday night.

Mikko Rantanen scored the only goal for Colorado, but all the work on the game 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 had every opportunity to get off to a good start at home. Multiple power play opportunities, all the momentum and the crowd behind it. It was all there.

It just didn’t happen.

Although Colorado controlled a large portion of its shot attempts at even strength, most seemed to come from the outside. Their hard work allowed them to take a few penalties, including the Stars who were awarded an overmany penalty themselves. However, that male advantage was not clear at all.

On the first attempt, MacKinnon appeared to have an empty net to shoot at, but Chris Tanev got by just in time to block it. The rest of the power play wasn’t that great, with Jamie Benn getting a short-handed breakaway that required Georgiev to make a big save. Power play opportunity number two wasn’t much better, with missed passes on zone entries everywhere. Their best chance of the period came late on that power play and off the rush, when a MacKinnon tip towards the net crept through Oettinger but never fully crossed the goal line.

Not taking advantage of those opportunities ultimately became a sticking point for them, as did some of the revenue metrics. After a solid shift in the offensive zone, Colorado found themselves trapped in their own end and unable to clear the zone. MacKinnon tried to get it up the middle, but it seemed to bounce over Toews’ stick and straight for the stars. Logan Stankoven picked up the ball and his shot snuck through Georgiev, giving the Stars a 1-0 lead. That would make it three straight games in which the Stars would get on the scoreboard first.

Second period

Colorado started the period with a power play, but it went just as poorly as the first two, leaving the fans a bit restless. When Brandon Duhaime took a penalty in the neutral zone, it looked like the Avalanche had squandered another glorious opportunity.

However, the penalty kill did come through. Georgiev made a big save with his head, and Sam Girard was the star of the penalty, blocking some shots and taking away passing lanes. As Duhaime stepped out of the penalty area, he brought 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 it through Chris Tanev. His backhand shot was stopped, but Rantanen was there to clean up the rebound, making the score 1-1 and bringing the fans back into the game.

A few minutes later, Nichushkin hit the post after a nice passing action. Just when it looked like Colorado had all the momentum, the Stars took advantage of a perfect rushing game. Evgeni Dadonov hit Tyler Seguin on the backdoor, which Cogliano couldn’t hold, and the Stars forward gave his team a 2–1 lead.

Despite outscoring the Stars 23-13 after two, Colorado fell behind heading into the third.

Third period

The Stars found another gear in the third, and that gear included wrapping through the neutral zone, sitting back in a 1-2-2. That has been an Achilles heel for the Avalanche in the past, and it was the case 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 thrown his way in the third and that was the end of it all.

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

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