The Stars rolled out of bed into the Pepsi center riding a 2 game win streak and coming off a win late last night in Dallas.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche were resting after a big road win in Detroit on Sunday night.
The difference between the two clubs tonight could not be more obvious. The Avalanche took control from the beginning of the first and never looked back.
They were lead tonight by a 28 save performance from Jonathan Bernier. He had his best performance of the season and looked like the compliment to Varly we were hoping for over the off-season.
Complete game through and through for the Avalanche tonight and now sit tied for 4th, or last depending on which way you look at it, in the Central Division.
The Avalanche came right out of the gate with the wheels turning. Something must have been said about the Stars playing last night and taking advantage early in the game.
The fast start paid off as the Avalanche were rewarded with the only powerplay of the period not even 3 minutes in the game from a Radek Faksa interference call that looked more like a cross check. The Avs popped off 4 good shots and looked in control of the PP throughout but yielded no goals.
Jonathan Bernier remains to be one of the most unluckiest goaltenders in the league as a bad bounce off the end boards spits the puck out right in front of the net with Bernier out of position and somehow gets a paddle on the wide open chance for the Stars.
The rest of the period was predominantly controlled by the Avalanche with the Stars getting a few good chances late.
The second period started in reverse as the Stars came out firing and the Avalanche looking like the team who played late night. But all it takes is 1 shot and the Avalanche found it with a great breakout from MacKinnon who gets it up to Johnson from a bad angle that goes five-hole on Bishop.
3:02 Erik Johnson (2) Wrist Shot, Assists: Nathan MacKinnon (16), Mikko Rantanen (12)1 - 0 COLhttps://t.co/2CI346WBYL— Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview) November 23, 2017
The Avalanche did a good job by staying out of the box that period and were given 2 powerplays of their own. They couldn’t connect on their opportunities but it wasn’t for a lack of trying as they had some of their best chances of the night on the PP.
Late in the period, and I mean late, 0.2 seconds late, MacKinnon wins a perfect draw to a waiting Yakupov who one-times it past Bishop with a rocket. The play took 1.7 seconds to score. You couldn’t end a 2nd period up 2-0 in a better way.
Picking up where they left off in the third, the Avs get their 3rd goal of the game from a great Rantanen pass to a waiting Landeskog in front of the net. MacKinnon gets the secondary assist for the first time this season in 5v5 play. That’s just how good he’s been this year.
1:11 Gabe Landeskog (9) Wrist Shot, Assists: Mikko Rantanen (13), Nathan MacKinnon (18) 3 - 0 COLhttps://t.co/oG1V4mTpsB— Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview) November 23, 2017
You knew it was only a matter of time before the Avalanche got their first penalty and that came 5 minutes into the 3rd period. The PK has been much better at home than on the road for the Avalanche this season as they’ve only given up 2 powerplay goals at home. That command on the PK continued tonight as they killed off both penalties.
Throughout the rest of the period the Avalanche put the trap on the Stars and bottled up any neutral zone entry attempt. It's boring hockey but you're happy to watch because the Avs are winning - not so much when the shoes on the other foot.
The shut out looked to be in jeopardy when Dallas was given their 2nd PP of the night with a minute and change to go. But Bernier and the Avalanche stood tall and it was an easy kill to end the game.
- Bernier. Bernier. Bernier. He stopped everything in front of him tonight and made some big saves throughout. He should have got the #1 star.
- The top line for the Avalanche continues to be the most exciting line in the NHL right now. MacKinnon totaled 3 points and that line contributed to 6 out of the 8 possible points tonight for the Avs. Pure dominance.
- Year of the Yak looks like it’s here to stay. That ripper he had tonight was put on a string.
- Little surprised to see Girard replaced by Kerfoot on the first PP unit tonight. Not to take anything away from Kerfoot though, he played fantastic in that spot.
- Bernier has to be the unluckiest goaltender in the league. Or is he lucky? The Stars hit 3 posts tonight which was a difference maker.
- This was an Avalanche team that was expected to win against a tired Stars team that played last night and they didn’t fail us. Can’t say it enough. This is a completely different team this year.
The Avalanche get to enjoy most of the day tomorrow with their families for Thanksgiving but hit the road late and travel to Minnesota for their start of a back-to-back stretch of games starting Saturday. It’s an afternoon game as puck drops at 2pm MST.