The Toronto Maple Leafs (37-32-8) will look to extend their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning (42-28-8) on Wednesday. They’ll be going into game three of their playoff series, with Dallas up 2-0. This series is a battle between two Central Division foes. During the regular season. The Avalanche and the Stars finished one after the other in the standings. The Avalanche were second in the Central Division with 92 points, and while the Stars were just one place behind them in third, they had a significantly lower 82 points. So far in the bubble, the Avalanche has won six of their ten games played, and the Stars have won seven of their eleven games played. The last game between these teams was on Monday night, where the Stars had a commanding 5-2 victory.
Stars Win Streak ContinuesIn the playoffs, the most important thing is winning. While the regular season might have concerns about the quality of victory, and what could’ve been done to improve it, the only thing that really matters in the postseason is achieving the all-important W and stacking up four victories. The Stars have been doing a marvelous job of that as of late. Dallas goes into game three against the Avalanche on a five-game win streak. Part of that is due to the uncommonly high number of goals the team has been scoring. Despite finishing in a good position in the standings, the Stars had one of the lowest goal totals out of the entire league. The third lowest, to be exact, scoring only 178 goals over the course of the season. Their goals for per game was 2.58, making them the sixth-worst in that category. However, over their past two games alone, the Stars have had ten total goals, and across their winning streak, they’ve scored 24 goals. In the postseason, they’re tied for the second-most goals scored so far.
The Stars’ game didn’t really get started until nearly halfway through the game. The team was down two and needed to get something going. Their spark came during a 5-on-3, where Joe Pavelski would put home his seventh goal of the postseason. Pavelski is currently tied for most postseason goals. After that goal, the Stars didn’t look back. They would score three more in the remainder of the second period, Radek Faksa on the powerplay, then Alexander Radulov and Esa Lindell. Lindell’s goal was a controversial one, but in the end, the officials came down on the side of the Stars. The team’s final goal was an empty netter off the stick of Jamie Oleksiak. Anton Khudobin was outstanding in game two. The 34-year-old goalie faced a mountain of forty shots, and only let two get passed him. Eight of his thirty-eight saves were shorthanded. He ended the night with a .950 save percentage.
Injured Avalanche In A Dangerous PositionThe Tampa Bay Lightning are, without a doubt, a very talented team. But they just haven’t been able to do their thing against the Toronto Maple Leafs. After nearly sweeping the Coyotes, and winning two of their three seeding games, the Avalanche have yet to find their footing in round two. A reason for that could be the loss of two key members of their team. In game one, the team lost both defenseman Erik Johnson and starting goalie Philipp Grubauer. Neither are expected to return for the rest of the postseason. Grubauer, who started in thirty-six games during the regular season and was fifth in the league with his 2.63 GAA, left in the opening minutes of the second period. He’s been undefeated in his five starts in the postseason, with one shutout and a save percentage of .922. The team also lost Johnson in game one after a hard hit from a Dallas player. Johnson had two assists and twenty-five shots on goal in his nine games played in the bubble.
The Avalanche started out game two strong, and never fully seemed to die out. As mentioned, the team had a whopping 40 shots on goal throughout the night, and it was only by Khudobin standing on his head that they were kept out of the net. Both of Colorado’s goals came in the first half of the game, and they both came on one of the eight powerplay opportunities the team had. The first goal of the game came from Nathan MacKinnon, who has seven goals in the bubble and is the player that Pavelski is tied with for most goals scored. The second and final Avalanche goal in game two came from Mikko Rantanen, who has four goals in the postseason. Replacing Philipp Grubauer in net was Pavel Francouz. Francouz has started three games and played in four so far in the postseason and has a record of 1-3. In game two, he faced 26 shots and stopped 22 of them. Out of those 22 saves, 7 of them were shorthanded. He had a save percentage of .846.
- The Avalanche are 21-9-3 overall when being outshot by their opponent.
- The Avalanche are 9-2 in one-goal games on the road.
- The Stars are 14-19-4 overall when their opponent scores first.
- The Stars are 3-5-4 on the road when the game is tied after the first period.