3 Keys: Stars vs. Avalanche, Game 2 of Western Second Round


No. 3 Dallas Stars vs. No. 2 Colorado Avalanche

9:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN

Dallas leads best-of-7 series 1-0


Goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Erik Johnson each is unfit to play and will not be in the Colorado Avalanche lineup when they face the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday. 

Grubauer was replaced by Pavel Francouz 3:06 into the second period of the Avalanche’s 5-2 loss to the Stars in Game 1 on Saturday in Edmonton, the Western hub city, after sustaining an injury. 

Grubauer and Johnson, also injured in Game 1, each is out indefinitely, Colorado coach Jared Bednar said Monday.

As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.

Francouz will start Game 2 after allowing two goals on 20 shots in 33:30 during Game 1. He’s 1-2-0 with a 1.59 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and one shutout in three postseason games (two starts). He was 21-7-4 with a 2.41 GAA, .923 save percentage and one shutout in 34 games (31 starts) for Colorado this season.

“[Francouz has] been really good for us,” Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen said Sunday. “I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll be good in the next game. I’m happy for his opportunity now.”

Goalie Anton Khudobin is expected to start for the Stars. 

Teams that win Game 1 are 485-220 (68.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including a 7-1 record in the first round this season. 

Here are 3 keys to Game 2:

1. Starts at the top

Dallas’ top line of left wing Jamie Benn, center Tyler Seguin and right wing Alexander Radulov led the way in Game 1, combining for eight points (three goals, five assists). Benn had three assists, Seguin scored his first goal of the postseason and added an assist and Radulov had two goals and an assist. 

“It all starts with our work,” Radulov said Saturday. “When we are skating and working and helping each other, I think we get those changes and breaks so we’ve just got to continue that. Today it was us, maybe next game will be different guys. Doesn’t matter, we just need to win games, that’s the bottom line.”

2. Making up minutes

Avalanche defensemen Cale Makar and Samuel Girard likely will pick up the extra minutes in Johnson’s absence. Makar led Colorado with 27:26 of ice time in Game 1 and Girard was second with 22:46.

“Those two guys are difference makers for us,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Sunday. “They move puck efficiently out of our zone and they can still be dangerous in the offensive zone. The guys getting the job done are going to be the guys who get those minutes. That’s what this time of year requires from your team. You can’t be handing out minutes based on hope. It has to be based on guys’ performances.”  

3. Good move for Hintz

Stars forward Roope Hintz scored his first goal of the postseason in Game 1 on Saturday. Dallas coach Rick Bowness moved Hintz, who has five points (one goal, four assists) in 10 postseason games, to center on the third line and moved Jason Dickinson to left wing. 

“We were trying to get Roope more open ice to use the speed,” Bowness said Sunday. “He’s one of the best skaters in the League, bar none. … We need that line, with Corey [Perry] on the right side, to be more of an offensive threat. Hopefully what they got last night got them going.”

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn — Tyler Seguin — Alexander Radulov

Mattias JanmarkJoe PavelskiDenis Gurianov

Jason Dickinson — Roope Hintz — Corey Perry

Andrew CoglianoRadek FaksaBlake Comeau

Esa LindellJohn Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakMiro Heiskanen

Andrej SekeraTaylor Fedun

Anton Khudobin

Jake Oettinger

Scratched: Nick Caamano, Ty Dellandrea, Justin Dowling, Joel Kiviranta, Jason Robertson, Gavin Bayreuther, Joel Hanley, Thomas Harley, Landon Bow 

Unfit to play: Stephen Johns, Ben Bishop

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel LandeskogNathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen

Andre BurakovskyNazem KadriJoonas Donskoi

Tyson JostJ.T. CompherValeri Nichushkin

Matt NietoPierre-Edouard BellemareVladislav Namestnikov

Ryan Graves — Cale Makar

Samuel Girard — Ian Cole

Nikita ZadorovKevin Connauton

Pavel Francouz

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Shane Bowers, Bowen Byram, Sheldon Dries, Anton Lindholm, Logan O’Connor, Conor Timmins, T.J. Tynan

Unfit to play: Philipp Grubauer, Erik Johnson, Matt Calvert

Status report

Calvert is day-to-day, Bednar said.

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