No. 3 Dallas Stars vs. No. 2 Colorado Avalanche
9:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN
Dallas leads best of 7 series 3-1
The Colorado Avalanche did not announce their starting goalie for when they try to avoid elimination against the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday.
Pavel Francouz was pulled after allowing five goals on 26 shots in Colorado’s 5-4 loss in Game 4 on Sunday. He was replaced by Michael Hutchinson, who saved all three shots he faced in 9:21.
“He’s got to be better, for sure,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Sunday. “(The Stars are) making it hard on him, on the power plays especially, but we’ve seen [Francouz] be way better.”
Francouz has started every game for the Avalanche since goalie Philipp Grubauer was ruled out indefinitely with an injury sustained in Game 1. As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.
Goalie Anton Khudobin will start for the Stars, who will look to advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2008. They are 10-1 in Stars/Minnesota North Stars history when leading a best-of-7 series 3-1.
Teams with a 3-1 lead are 284-29 (90.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series, including 6-0 in the first round this season.
Here are 3 keys to Game 5:
1. Defenseman scoring
Stars defensemen have been active and productive, combining for 36 points (nine goals, 27 assists) in the postseason.
“A lot of players are feeling really good about their game right now and that’s why we’re such a confident group,” John Klingberg said after he had one goal and one assist in Game 4. “It’s something that we were talking about to start of camp in August, we wanted the (defense) to be more involved, get more O-zone time and that’s one of the keys to why you’re seeing more offense. When we get a good start like this, we know they are going to play some risk in their game.”
2. Improving in front of the net
The Avalanche have allowed 19 goals in four games and said they’re not helping their goaltending enough in this series.
“[Francouz is] a great goalie and [Hutchinson] is a proven NHL goalie as well, so it’s not on them,” forward Nathan MacKinnon said. “It’s on us to give them easy saves, easy looks. We’re letting their big bodies stand in front of the net and tip pucks unharmed right now. We can win more battles, be more mean in our crease, help those guys out.”
3. Finding power
The Stars won the special-teams battle in Game 4, scoring three power-play goals on six opportunities. They’ve scored 11 goals on 44 chances (25 percent) with the man-advantage this postseason.
“(We’re) moving the puck around quick and trying to attack the goal,” Stars forward Jamie Benn said. “(Defenseman Miro Heiskanen’s) unit, they do a great job of moving the puck around, getting their shots. We try to do the same thing and obviously try to be the difference in the hockey game.”
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn — Tyler Seguin — Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark — Joe Pavelski — Denis Gurianov
Jason Dickinson — Roope Hintz — Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano — Radek Faksa — Blake Comeau
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak — Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera — Taylor Fedun
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 Landeskog — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky — Nazem Kadri — Valeri Nichushkin
Tyson Jost — J.T. Compher — Vladislav Namestnikov
Matt Nieto — Pierre- Edouard Bellemare — Logan O’Connor
Ryan Graves — Cale Makar
Samuel Girard — Ian Cole
Nikita Zadorov — Kevin Connauton
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, Joonas Donskoi