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Avs-Stars Game 2 Studs & Duds

AJ Haefele Avatar
May 10, 2024

The Colorado Avalanche lost to the Dallas Stars 5-3 in Game 2 of their Round 2 series. Here are the Avs Studs and Duds from the night.


Alexandar Georgiev

I hate that it is Georgiev’s responsibility to wear the statistical responsibility of a loss when, in my opinion, he was Colorado’s best player by a mile tonight. What I particularly loved from Georgiev in this game was the compete level.

We’ve seen his intensity throughout the season, from slapping his stick against Sam Malinski to breaking it multiple times when things weren’t going well. There can be no doubt that Georgiev cares about what’s going on in front of him, but he has not always channeled that energy into positive results.

On the whole, the team in front of him didn’t hang him out to dry as they only allowed 10 high-danger chances in the entire game, but the goals scored were terrible breakdowns somewhere along the way and he didn’t stand much of a chance.

The frustrations with Georgiev throughout the year were well-earned but he made several big saves and was the only reason Dallas didn’t run the score way up on the Avalanche. He battled and when the Avs started to make their third-period push, it was only possible because Georgiev had not folded up shop in the second period like the team in front of him did.

The third line

Healthy and back in the lineup, Joel Kiviranta’s unexpected postseason added another chapter as he regained his spot alongside Miles Wood and Ross Colton on the third line and that line went from struggling in his absence to being the most consistent 5v5 line of the night.

Kiviranta began the game like a guy who hadn’t played in a few weeks as he was shot out of a cannon and laid a big hit, then settled into the game. This was also a duo that was unlocked earlier in the year by the presence of Logan O’Connor and during their time together proved to be one of the league’s premier third lines.

Kiviranta doesn’t have quite the same chops as LOC, but he was excellent in the first three games he played in the Winnipeg series and picked up right where he left off tonight.

It was a very encouraging evening by this trio as they played 7:45 of 5v5 time together and outshot Dallas 5-3. Kiviranta’s goal that made it 4-1 and sparked Colorado’s comeback attempt was well-earned as he crashed the net and picked up a rebound. The play began on the other end when Colton was in a faceoff tie-up and Kiviranta fished the puck out of Colton’s feet to start the breakout.

If these guys can continue this kind of play, especially in a head-to-head against Tyler Seguin’s line, it gives the Avalanche a real element of danger if their top line actually shows up in Game 3.



Look, there were some real problems with officiating tonight. Feel how you feel about Jamie Benn blowing up Devon Toews (I thought it was charging), but the double-dip a few minutes later when they missed an offside call that led directly to an Evgeny Dadonov breakaway and Sean Walker’s penalty when he tried to stop Dadonov was awful.

The penalty on Walker was a work of fiction and watching the Stars score on the ensuing power play to make it 3-0 was a tough pill to swallow. I also think the first too many men call on Colorado was very questionable given both teams had six players on the ice and the “extra” guy for the Avs was at the bench getting off the ice. Okay, I addressed officiating.

The rest of that from the Avalanche was unacceptable. Two pucks over the glass and another very obvious too many men call? What are you doing? Up 1-0 in the series and with a chance to move the pressure entirely to the Stars going back to Denver and you throw a bunch of golden opportunities at Dallas to bury you and tie the series? What?

It was a frustrating theme of the night as there were some good takeaways from this game but they were overshadowed by Colorado’s affinity for shooting themselves in the foot. They survived it in Game 1 but could not overcome it again tonight. The lack of discipline in both of these games has been concerning, to say the least.

The second period

Avs second period meltdown was thorough in Game 2.

In the same way the Avs used the second period to jump all over Dallas in Game 1, the Stars buried Colorado in the middle frame in Game 2. Entering the frame with a 1-0 lead after a very even first period, I was curious to see what kind of Avalanche response we would get. It was…not great, Bob.

In the 20 minutes that included each team getting part of two power play chances, Dallas poured it on the Avs to the tune of a 31-14 shot attempt advantage and the Stars scored at 5v5, on the power play, and shorthanded. Colorado’s meltdown was thorough, at least, as they left no stone unturned to ensure a comeback would be very difficult (it was).

They lacked intensity as they never got their legs and the Stars pounded them. After Benn’s huge hit, Dallas built from the moment and Colorado shrank from it. Nobody truly stepped to Benn to defend Toews as he lay on the ice and for an organization that preaches how hard they play for one another, it felt like a moment of great disconnect.

The emotional meltdown that followed, especially by Colorado’s top players, was extremely disappointing. The shorthanded goal that proved to be the game-winner was entirely the result of lazy, uninspired hockey by several players with letters on their chests. The third period was a neat distraction, but the comeback fell short because they dug themselves too deep of a hole instead of bucking up and putting a stop to the bleeding.

Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen

Val Nichushkin’s turnover high in the offensive zone started a 3v1 for the Stars, but watch Colorado’s two 100-point superstar forwards on this play. Rantanen actually gets back eventually and was in a position to help get the puck out of danger on the third Stars shot attempt, but MacKinnon only barely drifts into the frame as Seguin scores.

How is that acceptable from two of the guys who help set the tone for this team? At least Cale Makar attempted to make a play on the puck as he was the defender of the jailbreak. I’m not sure what’s worse, Rantanen’s lazy fly-by or MacKinnon not even bothering to put one ounce of effort into any of it. They’re both embarrassing from two guys who carry reputations as stars whose games find a different level at the start of the playoffs.

It’s almost impossible for the Avalanche to win when these two guys put up next to nothing offensively. It’s not even about points, but the generation of chances was hard to find from these two guys. MacKinnon, the NHL’s leader in shots on goal, only managed three, all in the third period. He eventually had seven shot attempts, but only two were at 5v5 and in three power play attempts, only tried one shot.

Rantanen had just one shot on goal, three shot attempts all game, and zero scoring chances. Zero scoring chances! I don’t expect them to score multiple points every single game, but they barely even gave themselves opportunities. It could be easily argued that their impact in this game was actually negative with MacKinnon’s absurd puck over-the-glass penalty and the two combining for that farce on the shorthanded goal.

These guys are unbelievable talents and both have warts that are impossible to ignore at times and on nights when their unreal offensive contributions don’t outweigh the negatives, this is what you get. Ugly.

Avs Unsung Hero

The heart

I’ve written a lot of negative things above, but there’s something very interesting that happened in these two games in Dallas. Colorado had deficits of 3-0 and 4-0 and wasn’t too far from pushing both games to overtime.

The Stars are damn good defensively but once the Avs really found their gears in each game, the Avalanche scored in bunches. They were a comeback team all season and I think if the Avs could keep it to, like, 1-0 or so, their job in trying to build their way back into games would be quite a bit easier. A revolutionary thinker I am, I know.

But if you’re Dallas, you have two ways of looking at how this series has played out. They are one blown three-goal lead from a 2-0 lead in the series. They are also one goal in the final minutes of the third period tonight from going into overtime and possibly being down 2-0. Instead, we’re sitting at 1-1 heading back to Denver with the Avs having the home-ice advantage at the moment.

As soon as Brandon Duhaime scored to make it 4-2, that entire building got very tight. The Stars played like a team suddenly scared to lose the game instead of trying to win it and Colorado smelled blood in the water. These are two great teams trading punches so one-goal games will look like this in the third period, but how did they even allow it to even get to a one-goal game?

Colorado’s two best forwards were terrible tonight and they still got three dropped on them, so it feels more like they survived, well, a third-period avalanche instead of winning the game. You have to win some playoff games like that sometimes, but going back to Colorado there has to be some unease that the Avs have a gear the Stars don’t. How often the Avs get to that gear is to be determined, but I wonder how good they truly feel in the Dallas locker room right now.


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