Dallas claims series lead as road show continues

DENVER – The Stars restored home-ice advantage in their second-round series with the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 on Saturday night, winning 4-1 on the road at Ball Arena.

Rookie Logan Stankoven and veteran Tyler Seguin each scored two goals for Dallas, while goaltender Jake Oettinger made 28 saves. Saves in the game.

The Stars have now taken a 2-1 lead in the series. They will face Colorado in Game 4 on Monday night at 8:30 p.m.

Here are five thoughts from the Game 3 victory:

Stars rookie Logan Stankoven snaps slump with two goals, but his contributions run deep

Dominate the road

The Stars were the NHL's best road team all regular season, shooting 69.5%.

Going 0-2 against Vegas in the previous series was an advantage they got at T-Mobile Arena and it gave them a chance to crawl back into the series and tie it on enemy ice.

But the Stars were facing an even bigger challenge against Colorado. The Stars may have been the league's best road team, but Colorado was its best home team, scoring points in 76.8% of its games at Ball Arena. Entering Saturday's Game 3, the Avalanche had not lost a playoff game on home ice.

With both teams entering their comfort zone, the Stars' road advantage proved to be even greater. They were able to get another early lead in the first period and were able to build on that goal over the next 40 minutes.

The Stars are now 3-1 in these playoffs and will have a chance to pick up another win on Monday night.

“Coming into this rink, we knew how these guys play,” Seguin said. “We also know how we play on the road. We knew this would be a big challenge. I think the next game is going to be an even bigger challenge, but the playoffs are about those moments and sometimes getting the right bounce, and that's what we had tonight.”

Logan Stankoven breaks scoring drought

Stars rookie Logan Stankoven couldn't have got a better start to his NHL career when he was called up from the Texas Stars in February.

He scored six goals and four assists in his first 12 NHL games, solidifying his spot on the roster and in the lineup.

But after scoring a goal against Arizona on March 20, Stankoven hadn't found the net in nearly two months until Saturday.

The 21-year-old scored to give Dallas the lead with less than 90 seconds remaining in the first period. Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen found him in traffic, and his wrist shot went past Avalanche goalie Alexander Georgiev.

“I think it's always good to contribute,” Stankoven said. “I felt like I was doing the right thing but couldn't find the back of the net. Being a young player in the league there are always ups and downs along the way, so I'm just trying to find my way and gain the trust of the coaches.

The rookie gave Dallas the lead after the first period for the third consecutive game in this series. He closed the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Stars dominate penalty kill again

Since the Stars gave up two power-play goals in Game 1, which helped Colorado comeback from 0-3 down, Dallas' penalty kill has been decimated.

The Stars – who took the fewest penalty minutes in the league in the regular season – committed five violations in the first period of Game 3 alone. Those penalties resulted in three power plays for the Avalanche.

However, the Dallas penalty kill kept Colorado's power play off the scoresheet completely for the second consecutive game.

With 5:01 left in the first period, Jamie Benn and Ryan Suter had the defensive game of the night. A puck rolled through Oettinger's pads and almost crossed the goal line, but Suter and Benn swooped in and stopped it from crossing completely.

The Stars had one power play of their own but were unable to score.

After the first period, the Stars did not commit any more penalties.

“Okay, we have made some adjustments. I don't want to get into them, but I'm sure they'll look and see what they are,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said of their penalty kill. “We had to do a big job tonight to stop everybody's shots. Commitment also. We got some important blocks at important times, which is always important against a team like that.”

Tyler Seguin's success continues against Colorado

Tyler Seguin appeared in three games against the Avalanche in the regular season and scored two goals in each. After three playoff games, the Stars' veteran forward has a total of nine goals against Colorado this season.

Seguin scored his first goal of the playoffs in Game 2 shorthanded and added two more goals on Saturday.

Colorado tied the score midway through the second period, but Sam Steele, Evgeny Dadonov and Seguin took the lead in transition. Dadonov fed Seguin a perfect pass at the far post and Georgiev had no chance to respond.

Seguin then added an empty-netter in the final minutes. He now has six points in the playoffs.

“I liked Seggie's game all year,” DeBoer said. “I think he's done a great job for us this year. I think this line has been excellent for most of the year. Like anything, there are some ups and downs that come your way as the seasons go on. But when you look at the big picture and the work the entire season has done, I think he's been excellent and that line has been excellent.

Jake Oettinger puts the stars on his back

Dallas faced an offensive onslaught from the Avalanche to start the game, as Colorado held a 12–5 shot advantage during the first period.

Unlike Georgiev, Oettinger didn't get much downtime, especially facing three power plays early in the contest.

“I wanted to take on my workload instead [Georgiev’s] Tonight,” Oettinger said. “Whenever you can get some shots, especially early on, and just feel like you're in the game, it's a lot easier to get into a rhythm as a goaltender, to really think about anything else. Without it. I was able to do that.”

Dallas' goaltending remained strong, allowing only one goal out of 29 shots on goal. Colorado's netminder faced 21 shots and allowed two goals.

The one goal that Oettinger allowed was perfectly lined up by Hart Trophy finalist Nathan MacKinnon, who weaved into the slot and found linemate Mikko Rantanen for the score.

Otherwise, Oettinger was as strong as he was against Vegas where he led the team to the series win.

“Words don't do justice to a person like Jackie,” Seguin said. “He knows the environment and the start they were going to make. We needed him and he always rises to the occasion.”

Find more Stars coverage from The Dallas Morning News here,

Leave a Comment

“The Untold Story: Yung Miami’s Response to Jimmy Butler’s Advances During an NBA Playoff Game” “Unveiling the Secrets: 15 Astonishing Facts About the PGA Championship”