Following a thrilling 2–1 victory over the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche (1–0–0) will continue their quest for the top spot in the Western Conference when they take on the Dallas Stars (0–1–0) on Wednesday. In their first game of the round robin series, the Dallas Stars dropped a 5–3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights (1–0–0), giving up four unanswered goals in the third period after building a 3–1 lead.
Prior to the pause in the regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Avalanche struggled the most with the Dallas Stars, as the Stars swept the Avalanche in the season series. While the postseason is always a different beast, it seems as if the Stars have had the Avs’ number in recent matchups with their stout defense and strong goaltending behind Denver native Ben Bishop.
However, it will be very interesting to see how the Stars’ defense will be able to handle a fully healthy Avs roster.
In this round robin showdown against the Stars, it will likely be another closely contested battle. It was also noted that Colorado head coach Jared Bednar was not happy with the performance of a few players in their performance against the Blues. It can be expected the Avalanche will be coming out flying to start the game to see if they can beat Bishop early.
Special teams will be an interesting storyline to follow for Colorado, as the Avs’ penalty-killing unit held the Blues to one power play goal on Sunday. While the Avalanche have been able to establish a strong penalty-killing unit, their power play continues to leave something to be desired, only scoring once in their five opportunities with the man advantage against the Blues.
Players to watch
Cale Makar — Colorado Avalanche
A little quiet in the game against the Blues, the player to watch against the Stars should be Calder Trophy candidate Cale Makar. If Makar is able to get his game going, it will make the Avs’ dynamic offense deadly, and can also be enough to immediately improve the Colorado power play. Expect Makar to have a big game against the Stars.
Roope Hintz — Dallas Stars
If there has been one Stars player who has impressed in each showdown against the Avs before the pause, it has been Finnish forward Roope Hintz. The speedy Dallas forward has caused fits for the Avalanche in the past, and I can see him doing so once again in this round robin showdown. Look for Colorado to lock him down.