Valiant Avalanche rally comes up short in Game 2 victory by Stars

May 9, 2024, 10:42 PM | Updated: 11:04 pm

The Colorado Avalanche had a furious rally against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

Unfortunately, it came up just short.

Game 2 was all the team from Texas early, and the Western Conference semifinal is now tied a win apiece.

The Stars were up 1-0 after the first period, 4-0 after the second and prevailed by a final score of 5-3.

But not before things got really interesting in the third period. Joel Kiviranta and Brandon Duhaime scored to make it 4-2, and that’s where things stood without about four minutes left. All of the Mile High City was thinking maybe there was a chance. 

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar pulled goalie Alexandar Georgiev, and Colorado made it 4-3 with 3:44 to go on a tip-in by Valeri Nichushkin. He’s scored in all seven playoff games.

The Stars took a penalty and the Avs had a power play, plus Georgiev back on the bench, but could never find the equalizer. Esa Lindell scored an empty-netter from deep in his own zone with 21 seconds to go and that was that.

While the story of the night was the comeback, plenty else went down, and most of it not positive.

Things really got ugly for Colorado on special teams, giving up two power play goals as well as a shorthanded goal. They took two delay of game penalties for firing the puck over the glass as well as two minors for too many men on the ice.

It was mostly a sloppy effort early from Bednar’s bunch when they could’ve taken a 2-0 series lead and delivered a huge punch.

The biggest controversy of the night came in the second period when Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews took a nasty hit from Stars winger Jamie Benn. Toews went down in a heap as it appeared he took contact to the head.

The officials initially met at center-ice and called a five-minute major on the play. However, after consulting the review center, it was reduced to no penalty at all on Benn.

Take a look for yourself.

Toews headed to the locker room but returned to the bench and game a few minutes later. It was good he was okay to keep playing, but his status will be worth monitoring in the coming days.

Bednar said after the game he “can’t understand how it’s not a penalty.” Apparently the league disagrees, even though it sure looked like one.

Miro Heiskanen scored twice for the Stars, as well as Tyler Seguin and Roope Hintz finding the back of the net to go with Lindell’s late one. 

Georgiev actually made several good saves, but he didn’t get a lot of help in front of him until it was too late. Dallas scored a couple of really pretty goals.

Meanwhile, Stars netminder Jake Oettinger looked like one of the best goalies on the planet early on, robbing guys like Zach Parise and Valeri Nichushkin with key stops when the game was still tight at that juncture.

Overall, the Avalanche did what good teams do in the two contests in Dallas. They stole one on the road, and now have home-ice advantage in the series. Win three of the next five, with three in Denver, and they’ll be headed back to the Western Conference Final for the time since 2022.

Still, they almost did it again. And that’s the mark of a good team that never quits.

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