The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars faced off for the second time in a home-and-home series in 48 hours. The away sides in both games took the two points, including the Stars Tuesday night 4-1. It was the first regulation loss for the Avs since December 16th and first regulation loss at home since October 26th.
The Stars and Avs finished their season series and could be on track to meet in the first round of the playoffs. The Stars got the better of the Avs this season with a 2-1 record.
Things started out pretty even and tame between the two sides, as the Avs looked to continue their dominance from Sunday’s game in Dallas. Dallas was looking to turn around their story from Sunday and climb back into the playoff race.
As the game went on, Jake Oettinger was being pestered with shots, as the Avs outshot the Stars 10-0 halfway through the period. Trust me, this is not the first time he’ll be mentioned for his play tonight.
On the other end, Avalanche trade target Joe Pavelski kicked off the scoring after a Nazem Kadri delay of game penalty by finishing off a perfect passing play on the power play. It would give the Stars what may have been an undeserving lead heading into the break.
Things got off to the wrong start for the Avs, as Pavel Francouz earned himself a spot on this Thursday’s episode of “Steve’s Dang-It’s.” He got adventurous outside of the crease, caught up on the post while trying to play the puck and couldn’t get back in time for Jason Robertson to put it into the net to double the lead.
You can already hear Steve Dangle shouting “if you’re a goaltender, tend the goal!” to Frankie who did not have his best game. Luckily, less than a minute later he would be bailed out by the Avs’s only goal of the night from Nathan MacKinnon to make it 2-1.
Pavelski continued to show off for Joe Sakic on why he should be invested in and perhaps end up in Colorado before the deadline, after pushing the puck out from under Francouz on the power play to extend the lead to 3-1.
It looked pretty certain as if it was goaltender interference, as did Jared Bednar. He challenged the play which took a good amount of time to look over. Ultimately, it was determined the goal would stand and the Avs found themselves a man down once again.
The two teams traded penalties afterwards as the Avs tried to find the net for the second time in the game. After two periods, Oettinger was putting on a clinic and had a great defense ahead of him looking to hang on in the third period.
The third period had only one storyline: Oettinger stood on his head. He threw himself around his crease making some incredible saves, including a point blank save moving from left to right on a Cale Makar slot shot.
If he found himself out of position by throwing himself around, he was bailed out by his defense. After robbing Mikko Rantanen on a one timer moving from right to left, Rantanen tried a wraparound attempt that was stopped on the goal line by John Klingberg.
The Avs did everything they could, pulling Francouz with three minutes left and peppering Oettinger with 47 shots. Tyler Seguin would finish it off with an empty net, make it 4-1, and gain revenge on their division rival.
The Avs didn’t necessarily play a bad game, but it just wasn’t good enough. It doesn’t help either that they ran into a hot goaltender. This is a good reality check for the Avs, who of course can’t win every game. They’ll look at this as a learning opportunity, and be better next time especially if they end up facing the Stars in the playoffs.
One of the soft spots for the Avalanche however would be the defense. They found themselves often trailing behind the Stars, looking to catch up from time to time. They didn’t help Francouz who as mentioned earlier didn’t have his best game either. The PK also gave up two power play goals which didn’t help. They’ll look to clean these things up before Wednesday night’s game in Las Vegas.
With the loss, history for the Avs has come to an end. They end with a franchise best 19 game point streak. This was the first loss in regulation since December 16th in that ill-fated game against the Nashville Predators. This was their first regulation loss on home ice since October 26th against the Vegas Golden Knights. While the loss hurts, there still is plenty to smile about as an Avs fan right now.
The Avalanche will travel to the Sin City to face off against those Vegas Golden Knights on national TV. It will see the highly anticipated debut of Jack Eichel, and the Avs will want to spoil the party. Puck drop is at 8:00 p.m. MT on TNT.