Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche Second Round Preview

Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche

With the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs completed, the NHL wanted to continue the momentum of having hockey on TV. That means the Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche second-round series will begin Saturday night. This will be the fifth time the Stars and Avalanche will meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The series record is 2-2. This is a very exciting matchup between two of the top teams in the Western Conference.

These Central Division Rivals played four times during the regular season with Dallas holding a 4-0 series edge. But the Avalanche did get the Stars back on August 5th during the Western Conference Round-Robin play. But come playoff time you can throw the regular-season records out the window. The winner of the Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche second-round series has the chance to win the Stanley Cup. That’s how good these two teams are. Let’s take a look at how these two teams match up.

Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche Second Round Preview

Battle of the Top Lines

The Stars and Avalanche both feature top lines that can score at will. Leading the way for the Avalanche is Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon leads the NHL in points with 13 and is showing why he is a finalist again for the Hart Trophy. But MacKinnon is not the only weapon the Avalanche have on the top line. Joining him is Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. Rantanen has 10 points while Landeskog has eight points, all of which are assists. While they have made some goals look easy in the First Round, this line still has not hit its stride. That is a scary thought as they enter the series against the Stars. MacKinnon is the player everyone is going to be watching when the puck drops Saturday night.

On the flip side, the line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov has yet to have a big game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since the restart, this line has been missing in action. Even during the six-game series against the Calgary Flames, this line really was not a factor. Dallas desperately needs this line to produce against the Avalanche because you know MacKinnon and company will get theirs. One way to make sure these lines off-set is for the Stars top line to match the production of the Avalanche’s top line.

Secondary Scoring

One thing that stands out in the Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche series is the secondary scoring. For the first time since the trio arrived in Colorado, they have another line or two to produce goals when the top line goes cold. At the head of the line is Nazem Kadri, who is turning into a big-time playoff performer for the Avalanche. Kadri is the second-leading scorer on the team with 11 points as he leads the team in goals with six. His line has been able to match the production of the top line. Dallas now has to worry about two lines that can score. But not only that but the third and fourth lines can be physical and produce goals on occasion.

For Dallas, it is the same old story. Their depth scoring continues to produce. Leading the way was Joe Pavelski. Pavelski is having a resurgence in the playoffs and this point in the season is exactly why the Stars signed him. Out of eight points, seven of them have come at even strength. To go along with Pavelski, Denis Gurianov is stepping up along with Roope Hintz, and Corey Perry. You wondered who was gonna step up once Mats Zuccarello left via free agency. Series are won and lost in the trenches and both teams have the secondary scoring to go make deep runs.

Active Defence

Another key element in the Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche series will be the active defenceman for both teams. Colorado has the Calder Trophy finalist Cale Makar. Makar has yet to hit his stride, but this is only his second taste of playoff hockey. But Makar makes everything run on the backend. He can transition from defence to offence so quickly and takes the pressure off the forwards coming back into the defensive zone. Along with Makar, Samuel Girard and Erik Johnson both like to move the puck quickly out of the zone. Girard is the forgotten man back there with the spotlight on Makar. But Girard had himself a series in the First Round.

For the Stars, everything starts and ends with Miro Heiskanen. Heiskanen leads the team in points with 11. When the Dallas defence is active offensively that is when the team is at their best. Heiskanen remains the most important player for the Stars, but the Avalanche cannot forget about John Klingberg or Esa Lindell. Klingberg picked up his game towards the end of the First Round, while Lindell is still finding his game. The Avalanche just can’t focus on Heiskanen or else the other two will beat them.

With goaltending off-setting each other, this series will come down to the secondary scoring. Colorado holds a slight edge, but Pavelski is the x-factor in all this with his leadership and intangibles. History shows these teams play tight series. Expect another one.

Prediction: Avalanche in seven

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