The Colorado Avalanche are back in action Wednesday afternoon after their buzzer-beating win over the St. Louis Blues. This time, they face a Dallas Stars team that is coming off of a 5-3 loss in their first round-robin game. If the Avalanche can win this game they will guarantee that they can not be the fourth seed for the playoffs.
The Stars will be looking to avoid going 0-2 which would put them in a very tough spot, likely placing them as a three or four seed after the round-robin is over. Once again, both teams will look to find the playoff intensity in these games to prepare them for when they play in elimination style games. The Avs finished 10 points ahead of the Stars in regular season play this year, while playing just one extra game.
The Avalanche looked incredibly strong in their opening game against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They put in a complete effort and scored with under one second left to take two points and get themselves off on the right foot in this round-robin.
Someone who the Avalanche will be looking for a little more from is the captain, Gabriel Landeskog. He didn’t have a bad game one by any means, but he also didn’t shine like the Avalanche are used to seeing so often. He laid a very questionable hit in the second period and made a couple of bad plays throughout the game. He redeemed himself by getting the primary assist on the game winner, however, a more complete effort for the captain will be important in this game.
Philipp Grubauer will look to continue is very solid performance from game one. He got beat by a one-timer on the power play Sunday, but that would be the only puck that found it’s way past him. After that, he was lights out, not giving the Blues anything to work with. He will have to do the same thing today as he is facing a very strong goaltender in Ben Bishop across the ice. Look for the battle of the goalies to be present again today.
Expect to the lineup to be fairly similar to what it was on Sunday. With a complete performance like that it is hard to justify shaking things up to massively. However, we will see in pregame warmups if there are any big changes.
Andre Burakovsky - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog - Nazem Kadri - Valeri Nichushkin
Vladislav Namestnikov - J.T. Compher - Joonas Donskoi
Matt Nieto - P.E. Bellemare - Matt Calvert
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Nikita Zadorov
Pavel Francouz - Projected starter
The Dallas Stars made headlines before their game with the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, when Tyler Seguin and Jason Dickinson joined Robin Lehner and Ryan Reaves in kneeling for both national anthems. They were the first, but hopefully not the last, NHL player’s to do so this season. Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild knelt, however, it was not in the game he was playing in.
On the ice, the Stars put forward a partial effort. They controlled play well for the first two periods and had a 3-1 lead heading into the third. Unfortunately, they gave up three goals and an empty netter to lose the game at a final of 5-3. Bringing a full game will be needed for the Stars against this Avalanche team that put in a full 60 minute effort Sunday night.
As mentioned before, Ben Bishop should get the start and the Stars need him to play well. This season he had a save percentage of 0.920 and a goals-against average of 2.50 in 44 starts. He was rock solid in net and will have to play like that for the Stars to win.
Miro Heiskanen is a player to watch out for. The youngster put up three assists during Monday night’s loss. Heiskanen is a crafty and skilled defenceman, another great young blueliner who should be fun to watch for years to come. The Avalanche will need to take care of his skill and puck-moving abilities today.
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Denis Gurianov
Mattias Janmark - Joe Pavelski - Alexander Radulov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Roope Hintz - Jason Dickinson - Corey Perry
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera - Stephen Johns
Ben Bishop - Projected Starter