The Dallas Stars are one win away from getting to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2008
EDMONTON, Alberta — Radek Faksa had a goal and two assists, Roope Hintz scored the last of three power-play goals by Dallas and the Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 on Sunday night, taking a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
The Stars, who led 3-0 in the first period before Colorado had its first shot on goal, saw their margin cut to one before Hintz was patient with the puck about 7 1/2 minutes into the third period. There were only a couple of seconds left on a power play when he scored on Dallas’ seventh shot during that segment after initially waiting for some traffic to clear.
Dallas then got a gift goal only 32 seconds later when Avalanche rookie defender Cale Makar, who had scored late in the second period, tried to clear a puck from behind his own net and flubbed the attempt. Goalie Pavel Francouz didn’t see it go in front of him, and Stars rookie Denis Gurianov knocked it in for a 5-2 lead.
John Klingberg had a goal and an assist for the Stars, who need one win to get to their first conference final since 2008. Game 5 is Monday night, a previously scheduled back-to-back though initially those consecutive games were supposed to be Games 5 and 6.
Valeri Nichushkin, the former Dallas player who had no points in the first 11 games this postseason for the Avalanche, scored two goals. Vladislav Namestnikov added a goal with 3.6 seconds remaining when Colorado had an extra skater on the ice.
Colorado was within 3-2 on Makar’s goal with 25 seconds left in the second period, only 11 seconds after they went on a 5-on-3 advantage because of penalties against Blake Comeau (hooking) and Jamie Oleksiak (interference) at the same time.
Makar made a pass across to Mikko Rantanen, and the puck then went to Nathan MacKinnon before a pass that set up Makar’s one-timer from just inside the left circle.
But the Avalanche couldn’t take advantage of the remaining 1:24 of the power play to start the final period.
Stars goalie Anton Khudobin, who had never made a postseason start before this year, stopped 33 shots.
Dallas went ahead to stay on Klingberg’s goal just over six minutes into the game, knocking in the puck after Francouz couldn’t control Faksa’s shot. It was 2-0 less than three minutes later after Fasksa poked in a score on a power play, and Benn added another goal with a man advantage with some nifty work and stick up off the ice midway through the first period.
NOTES: MacKinnon added to his franchise record, now with a point in all 12 games to start this postseason. The last NHL player that had opened the playoffs with a 12-game point streak was Johan Franzen for Detroit in 2010. MacKinnon has 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) … Francouz, in net since Philipp Grubauer was injured in Game 1 of this series, was pulled after the fifth Dallas goal. He had 21 saves. Michael Hutchinson made his playoff debut and stopped three shots. … Dallas had 10 shots on goal before Nazem Kadri had the first for Colorado with 1:34 left in the first period. Kadri had already had two penalties, leading to the first two power play goals for Dallas.
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