The Dallas Stars only won one round-robin game in the NHL Bubble, nipping the reigning champion St. Louis Blues in a shootout. The Stars shone more brightly in Round 1, dousing the Calgary Flames in six games. Dallas advanced to play a team it owned in head-to-head combat in the 2019-20 regular season, the Colorado Avalanche.
The Colorado Avalanche fared pretty well in the round-robin tournament. Colorado smothered the Blues, blanked Dallas 4-0, and only lost to Vegas in an overtime thriller. Then the Avalanche buried the Arizona Coyotes alive in Round 1, pounding them relentlessly with a blizzard of goals. Colorado scored 22 goals to Arizona’s eight, euthanizing the poor creatures in five games.
The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars were ranked second and third in the Central Division, respectively. Now they have that exact same seeding here in their Round 2 matchup. Dallas, not especially well-known as an offensive powerhouse, has jumped all over Colorado to take a 2-0 series lead.
Saturday, Aug. 22- Stars 5, Avalanche 3
Monday, Aug. 24- Stars 5, Avalanche 2
Wednesday, Aug. 26- Avalanche vs Stars, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Friday, Aug. 28- Avalanche vs Stars, 10 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 30 – Stars vs Avalanche, TBD
Monday, Aug. 31 – Avalanche vs Stars, TBD
Wednesday, Sept. 2- Stars vs Avalanche– TBD
The Stars have straight dominated in recent head-to-head action, and that trend has continued in their second-round series. Dallas is 6-1 overall vs Colorado in the 2019-20 campaign, with the only blemish being the 4-0 round-robin loss.
Dallas’ Khudobin has played well as Ben Bishop’s backup. In fact, Khudobin has played so well that Bishop (lower-body injury) may be the backup when he returns. Khudobin has won his last five starts, powering the Stars through the early rounds of the playoffs. Anton has enjoyed a 2.48 GAA and a .928 SV% during his impressive streak.
Colorado’s Francouz is currently losing the battle of backup goalies. Francouz has lost three straight games for the Avalanche and is hoping to stop Colorado’s recent slide. It doesn’t sound like Philipp Grubauer (lower-body injury) is likely to return this postseason, so the job is Francouz’s. Francouz has actually posted pretty good numbers this postseason (2.31 GAA and a .915 SV%), but the Avalanche haven’t been scoring enough to support him. Perhaps that trend will shift in a pivotal Game 3.
Advantage: Dallas Stars
Stanley Cup Odds
The Dallas Stars’ odds to win the Stanley Cup before the season started were mediocre, showing at +1700. Now that Dallas has already piled up half the wins necessary to reach the Finals, they’re sitting snug at +350.
The Avalanche’s moneyline to win the Cup is almost exactly where it started in the preseason, moving only 60 points. Colorado’s odds went from +940 to +1000, which is reflective of the deep hole they’ve dug for themselves. It’s not insurmountable, but the Avalanche needs to come out swinging in Game 3 to have a chance.
Odds to Win Series
Colorado is the better team, statistically, but it has had a hard time with Dallas this season. Current NHL Series Pricing pays a hefty dividend to those who believe the Avalanche can and will bounce back to win this series. Betting $100 on Colorado to complete the comeback pays out $250 on top of your initial investment.
Dallas Stars (-300)
Colorado Avalanche (+250)
Prediction: Avalanche in 7
Adjustments will be made by Colorado, and we’ll get to see the matchup we expected before the series started. A tense battle between the Avalanche’s elite offense and the Stars’ stellar defense, with the better overall team emerging victorious. Colorado’s success hinges on Francouz and the defense’s ability to stabilize and shut down Dallas’s overachieving scoring machine. The goals should come in bunches for the Avalanche, leaving the Stars wondering what might have been.