Game Preview: Can Avs advance to Conference Championship?


After being down 1-3 in their series against the Stars, the Avalanche did the miraculous — they came back and forced a game seven. And they did it with their third string goalie and without lineup staples Matt Calvert, Erik Johnson, or Joonas Donskoi. But do they have what it takes to finish off the series?

Games four and five both saw one team dominate the first period then go on to win the game. Game six, on the other hand, was tied 1-1 at the end of the first period. The real story of the game — and indeed, of the series so far — is the Avalanche’s utterly impotent power play. Their last goal with the man advantage was in game four. They are 1/16 on the power play over the past three games. The Stars allowed them five power plays in game six, including a four-minute double minor, but the Avs failed to capitalize. The Stars, on the other hand, are 5/13 on the power play through those same three games.

Nathan MacKinnon continued his ongoing point streak in game six with one goal and one assist. Mikko Rantanen did the same. The two forwards now lead the league in playoff points. Defensemen Cale Makar and Nikita Zadorov each tallied a goal as well, helping secure the victory.

If the Avs hope to advance to the conference championship, they need to capitalize on their power play chances and stay out of the box. It sounds like a cliche, but special teams may end up making the difference in this series. And the Avs need to stay grumpy. Being downright pissed off has definitely worked for them these last two games.

Player(s) to watch:

On the Avalanche side, there are rumors that Matt Calvert may return to the lineup tonight. Although Logan O’Connor has played well in Calvert’s stead, Calvert’s grit has been sorely missed. And of course, all eyes will be on third-string goalie Michael Hutchinson, who’s surpassed all expectations so far.

On the Dallas side, rookie forward Denis Gurianov and defenseman Miro Heiskanen have 13 goals and 20 assists between them and lead the Stars in points. Minimizing their chances tonight will be critical.

There are few things more exciting in sports than a game seven! If things go Colorado’s way tonight, the Western Conference Championship is scheduled to begin on Sunday. 

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