Stars Fall to Avalanche in Game 5

The Dallas Stars lost to the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 in Game 5 of the second round of the NHL Playoffs on Wednesday night, reducing their series lead to 3-2 heading into Game 6.

Dallas and Colorado played even through the first two periods of the game, but a dominant final 20 minutes of action from the Avalanche helped guide them to a commanding victory.

The Stars struck first in the game after right wing Joe Pavelski sent the puck past Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev off an assist from center Matt Duchene and left wing Jason Robertson with 10:57 left in the period.

Dallas nearly escaped the first period with a 1-0 lead, but a goal from Avalanche right wing Artturi Lehkonen off the assist from center Nathan MacKinnon with just one second remaining sent the teams into the first intermission tied 1-1.

Neither team could get any momentum on the offensive side to start the second period, but a goal from defenseman Miro Heiskanen off an assist from Pavelski and Robertson once again gave the Stars a lead with 8:21 left in the period.

The Stars once again nearly made it through the period without giving up another goal until Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar sent the puck past Stars goalie Jake Oettinger with 2:36 left in the period to tie the game up heading into the final 20 minutes of action.

The final period of this game ended disastrously for the Stars. Just over a minute into the period, the Avalanche took the lead off a goal from center Casey Mittelstadt.

Colorado managed to extend their lead just minutes later following another goal from Makar, giving the Avalanche a 4-2 lead with 15:32 left in the game.

Stars right wing Logan Stankoven responded less than two minutes later with a goal of his own, assisted by defenseman Esa Lindell, cutting the Avalanche lead to just 4-3 with 14:16 remaining.

However, the Stars were unable to score again during the game, while McKinnon scored another Avalanche goal with just 3:10 left to secure a 5-3 victory for the Avalanche.

Despite entering the playoffs being one of the most effective teams on their home ice, finishing with a record of 26-11-4 during the regular season, the Stars have now fallen to just 3-4 in American Airlines Center in these playoffs.

Pavelski said after the game that the Avalanche played well, but Dallas is looking at this loss as “a little bit of a missed opportunity.”

“We were good in some areas, but there were definitely some areas we gave them a little bit more space tonight,” he added, according to the NHL.

One area the team struggled with was power play opportunities, as they converted just one of their four opportunities into a goal. This has seemingly been an ongoing trend for the team in its postseason losses this year.

Although he had been exceptional during the Stars’ first 11 games of the postseason, goalie Jake Oettinger had one of his worst performances of the playoffs, saving just 81.5% of the shots sent his way.

Colorado also proved to be the more physical team in Game 5, as they were credited with 35 hits, while the Stars were credited with just 22 hits.

Physical play from the Avalanche has been a consistent theme during this series, with Colorado being credited with more hits in every single game of the series thus far.

Regardless, Pavelski said that the team will now look forward to Game 6 and make any necessary adjustments so they can end the series in Colorado.

“It’s going to be a great game, great atmosphere. We like playing this time of year. That’s why it’s so great, that’s why you want to be a part of it. We have to regroup and move forward,” he said, per the NHL.

The teams will now face off in Game 6 of this series on May 17 at 9 p.m., where the Stars will look to close out the Avalanche and advance into the Western Conference Finals.

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