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Avalanche have massive rally, stun Stars in OT to take Game 1

May 7, 2024, 11:00 PM | Updated: 11:10 pm

Avalanche Stars Cale Makar...

(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 in Game 1 on Tuesday night, with an unlikely hero getting the job done in overtime.

Miles Wood scored on a gorgeous breakaway, beating Stars stud goaltender Jake Oettinger clean on the backhand. The Avalanche mobbed Wood in the corner after a beautiful pass from Andrew Cogliano set up the heroics.

The Avs now lead the Western Conference semifinal series one game to zero.

Superstar Nathan MacKinnon tied it just 39 seconds into the third period, cleaning up a rebound off a shot from Cale Makar and knotting things up 3-3. Both teams had several good chances in the final minutes, including Mikko Rantanen hitting a crossbar.

But it wasn’t meant to be, and overtime was the destination. How we got there was an interesting path, with the Avs trailing 3-0 after one frame.

The second period is when the comeback was on for Colorado, as the guys woke up thanks to a couple of key power play goals.

Valeri Nichushkin got the first one, his eighth of the postseason. Nichushkin has scored in all six games the Avalanche have played in the playoffs, and currently leads the NHL in that category.

Makar made it 3-2 with a snipe and a little too much space, fewer than four minutes after Nichushkin got the team on the board. That’s how things settled after two periods, with Colorado feeling good and getting in striking distance going to the third.

Something key also happened late in the first. Already up 3-0 after three relatively fluky goals, the Stars sensed blood. But with just seconds left in the frame, Josh Manson got behind goaltender Alexandar Georgiev and saved a puck inches from the goal-line that would’ve made it 4-0. That turned out to be huge, as a four-goal deficit might have been too much to overcome.

None of the goals on Georgiev in the first period were necessarily “soft,” but it was still a bit alarming after what happened in Game 1 in Winnipeg where Georgiev gave up seven. Of course, he was much better in the final four games of that series. And he settled down tremendously on Tuesday night, making several key saves in regulation and overtime.

Then, Wood did his thing and the Avalanche went home happy.

Now, we’re on to Game 2, which will be a quick turnaround on Thursday back in Dallas.

The series will shift to Ball Arena on Saturday evening for Game 3, in what likely will be a long battle with a trip to the Western Conference Final eventually on the line.

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