Dallas’s 3-0-0 performance head-to-head against the Colorado Avalanche in the regular season series could be described as a thing of beauty. Wednesday’s performance in Edmonton against the same team in the NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers was anything but.
Colorado took an early lead and never looked back in the 4-0 win- the Stars’ second game of the round robin tournament pitting each team head-to-head to determine playoff seeding.
After dominating the regular season slate between Central Division contenders, the Stars looked flat in several aspects in Wednesday’s game. For one, the team’s offensive struggles continued. In three games since arriving at the Rogers Place, aside from a three-goal second in Monday’s loss to Vegas, the Stars have been held scoreless.
After Ben Bishop was rattled in a four-goal third Monday, goalie Anton Khoudobin’s performance Wednesday wasn’t much of an upgrade. An emboldened Avalanche offensive attack was again suspect. Colorado added a pair of goals in the first and peppered the Dallas defense with 40 shots in total in comparison to Dallas’ 27.
The Stars’ performance on special teams didn’t help anything, either. Normally a strong suit for Dallas, Colorado drew five Stars penalties and converted two power play goals. Dallas scored on its only power play opportunity Monday, but went 0-2 in Wednesday’s game.
Paired with that defeat, the second loss in the tournament will likely mean that Dallas will slot in as the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Colorado is pacing the field with a pair of wins, and Thursday’s result between the Golden Knights and St. Louis will go a long way toward settling the race for the second seed.
Dallas’ only hope to grab third would be a Blues loss Thursday and a win head-to-head vs. St. Louis on Sunday. If the Stars remain in the fourth slot, they would match up with the winner of the Edmonton-Chicago series- which is tied at one game apiece at time of publication.
Puck drop for the Stars’ final game of the round robin Sunday is still TBD. The first round of the traditional Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to get going on Monday, Aug. 11.
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