A “missed opportunity” for the Stars in Game 5

A “missed opportunity” for the Stars in Game 5
A “missed opportunity” for the Stars in Game 5

DALLAS – The opportunity was there for the Dallas Stars to end the second-round series at home, avoid another plane trip to Denver, enjoy a few days off and wait to find out. identity of their opponents in the Western Conference final.

The Colorado Avalanche had other plans.

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“They were good tonight, you have to give them some credit,” Stars forward Joe Pavelski said after the Avalanche’s 5-3 loss in Game 5 Wednesday at the American Airlines Center. “Ultimately, we see this as a missed opportunity.

“We were good in some areas, but there were definitely other areas where we gave them a little more space tonight. »

The Avalanche took advantage of this space at 5-on-5 as well as on the power play. Colorado was 2-for-3 with the man advantage, after missing eight power play opportunities in the last three games.

The Stars, who lead the series 3-2, will now have to return to Ball Arena in Denver for Game 6 on Friday (10 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN, SN1, TNT, truTV, MAX). If the Stars were confident coming home with a 3-1 lead, the fact remains that they have a 3-4 record here since the start of the playoffs.

“We are comfortable here, we like playing here,” assured Pavelski. On the other hand, we have been very good abroad. There are some things we do abroad that we could translate and do better at home. But yes, we have to win here. We must seize opportunities like this. »

The Avalanche were having some offensive woes recently, but they weren’t going to go down without a fight. The Stars expected her to bounce back, and she did.

“We knew they were going to play their best game of the series, and that was the case,” said Stars coach Peter DeBoer. “Their good players all got on the scoresheet tonight, and that’s what we anticipated. »

DeBoer was referring to Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, who had a double, and forward Nathan MacKinnon, who had a goal and an assist.

“We were still in the mix,” added DeBoer. I liked our second period. Things happen at this time of year and they are self-inflicted problems. »

One of the moments DeBoer is referring to came late in the first half. After Joe Pavelski scored his first goal of the playoffs to give the Stars the lead at 9:03, Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen tied the game 1-1 on the power play at 19:59.

“You absolutely have to retreat to the locker room with the lead at that point,” DeBoer said.

Then, at 1:12 of the third period, the Stars fell behind in a game for the first time in the series, when forward Casey Mittelstadt bounced the puck off the post and off the goalie’s left pad. Jake Oettinger to make it 3-2 Avalanche.

After Makar scored his second goal of the game to make it 4-2 at 4:28, Logan Stankoven scored his third goal of the series to cut the lead to 4-3 at 5:44. Despite two more power play opportunities at 6:59 and 16:59, the Stars were unable to add a goal.

“I thought we had some good chances. We would have liked to score a few more goals on the power play (1-for-4), but we can’t change anything,” said Stars forward Jason Robertson.

“They are doing their job by paying the penalties. We will make the necessary adjustments to try to get more opportunities. »

The Stars won’t be intimidated by returning to Ball Arena. They posted the best record in the NHL on the road during the regular season (26-10-5) and defeated the Avalanche there in Games 3 and 4. They are 4-1 on the road opposing rinks in the playoffs.

Despite everything, the Stars feel like they missed a great opportunity by not closing the books at home on Wednesday.

“We will try to draw inspiration from what we have already done there,” Pavelski said. You just have to do your job. The guys will be ready. We will be prepared. We know they will be too.

“It will be a good match in an extraordinary atmosphere. We love playing this time of year. That’s why it’s so fun and that’s why you want to play in the playoffs. We need to regroup and move forward. »

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