Game 7: Stars Finally Finnish Beating That Avs

I have to give Joe Sakic credit here. He hasn’t beaten us in a Game 7 yet, but he keeps getting closer and closer each time. Back in 1999, we beat the Avs asses 4-1 in the deciding game. The next year in 2000, Ray Bourque came this close to pushing us to overtime…

Now as the Avs GM, Sakic actually did extend us all the way to OT in Game 7, and he very nearly beat us. Unfortunately for him, we had a Finnish secret weapon who scored a game winning hat trick in his second ever playoff game.

Holy. Fucking. Shit. Thank god Jere Lehtinen tipped us off about this kid. Thank god Cogliano, who two years ago had the NHL iron man record, wasn’t healthy enough to play Friday.

Cogliano did serve us well before leaving, as he took out Avs defenseman Conor Timins with this hit in Game 6. It was the final bit of injury depletion that we desperately needed every single bit of.

But in Game 7, we needed the Finnish scorer more and boy did he deliver. Thank the fucking lord.

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This was an emotional game for me to say the least. I started watching on my phone at a funeral and eventually found myself chain-smoking outside an OKC Hooter’s during the OT intermission.

I realized that the last time I watched an important Dallas game at Hooter’s, it was the Game 6 loss of the Mavs/Warriors we believe series. I was about to really hate the establishment of Hooter’s and I was also about to fall into a deep abyss of depression.

Thank god things turned. Who knows if I would be here writing this today otherwise. Here’s how crunch time went down…

Are. You. Fucking. KIDDING ME JAMIE BENN! Highest paid player on our team by far, and will be for a long time, and he fucking chokes for us.

Next eight minutes I think about his albatross contract and wish we had cut him the minute he scored that goal against the USA in the Sochi games.

LIFE!!! Ohhh my god praise the lord we’re alive again!

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Dkjlsdalkfjapj!!! Sweet sweet Denis that was wiiiiidde open!

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No funeral.

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Holy shit holy shit holy shit HOLY SHIIIIIIITTT!!!! We didn’t even win the face-off and we scored TEN SECONDS LATER!

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Fuuuuuuccckkk everybody!!!! Life is awesome! I love life! 

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Game 7: Stars Finally Finnish Beating That Avs

Game 6: Well Uhh, Shit…

I’m at a loss of words. We are really on the verge of the worst Dallas sports meltdown since the Mavs 06 Finals. Easily one of the worst of all time.

That game 5 forfeit might just haunt us forever. Dear god am I worried.

A few notes of positivity since it’s not over yet…

1. Partying like it’s 1999 is not a complete experience without a game 7 beatdown over the Avs.

2. The Islanders and Knights both blew 3-1 leads too, so at least we’re not alone in this. If we do win today, game 1 for our conference finals opponent will likely be their third game in four days. Advantage us. (Or at a very minimum, we won’t be disadvantaged from fatigue)

3. The Avs got even more banged up. Their captain Gabe Landeskog is questionable today, as is defenseman Conor Timmins. This is on top of the Calvert, Johnson, Donskoi, Grubauer, and Francouz injuries.

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So can we beat up a depleted team that’s likely starting the shitty old Leafs backup again? I certainly hope so. If not, no funeral

Please god make it something like this…

Game 6: Well Uhh, Shit…

Game 5: Stars Accidentally Forfeit for Bishop

Congratulations to the Avs for not accepting the gentleman’s sweep and extending their stay in Edmonton for a few days. The Stars have been sleepwalking since the 2nd period of Monday night, and I don’t blame them too much because why would the Avs want to keep wasting their time with this?

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With the conference finals against Vegas in mind, Bowness decided to give Bishop the nod. Bishop has been ‘unfit to play’ since Game 2 against Calgary and he wasn’t even skating until yesterday.

However, we’re gonna need him against Vegas because they have two goalies in Fleury and Lehner. If/when the series has back-to-backs, the team with two goalies gets a HUGE advantage.

Even if Bishop isn’t feeling the most nimble, it’s best to get him a warmup game against Colorado instead of risking a trial by fire return against Vegas with the Campbell trophy on the line.

Unfortunately, this warmup game turned into a forfeit game…

Bishop is one of the most battle-tested playoff goalies in the league, so I am not worried about his ability to recover mentally. But Fleury’s playoff resume is right there with Bishop and then some, and he’s healthy.

We really need Bishop to get right. I hope this performance was due to rust and not injury. If so, I’m okay with this forfeit.

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As for the current series, the forfeit removes any margin the Stars had sleepwalking. It also might mean some injury help for the Avs. Defenseman Erik Johnson, wingers Matt Calvert/Joonas Donskoi, and goalie Philipp Grubauer are all on the injured list. It’s a complete mystery as to when they could come back.

We cannot let them out of the grave for a Game 7. We must get back to the level we were playing at before the 2nd period of Game 4. Finish them tomorrow night and get rested for the conference finals.

Game 5: Stars Accidentally Forfeit for Bishop

Game 4: Valeri Nichushkin Gets His Participation Ribbon

After finally seeing the Avs show 3rd period life last game, the Stars flipped their script and began dominating from the start in Game 4. It was 3-0 within ten minutes and the Avs couldn’t get their first shot on goal until 1:34 left in period one.

From there, it was mostly a laugher. We did start sleepwalking at the end of the 2nd, giving up two quick goals with some lazy play that led to a 5v3.

Then Hintz did this…

Sweet Jesus. Goal of the series. He just toyed with JT Compher and then fucking RIPPED it above Francouz’s glove.

Francouz ended up getting benched and will have to go back to KHL if we wants to be good at hockey again. Other than that, much of the game was the same old, same old Stars kicking ass that I’ve been writing about this whole time.

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The feel good story of the game is Valeri Nichushkin getting his participation trophy. He scored TWO goals last night. That’s two more than he scored for us all of last year!

He couldn’t even celebrate his second one because it was fluky as hell and we were killing them late, but still… Good for him.

We drafted Nichushkin 10th overall in 2013 and he found the NHL to be very challenging. Over six years, he spent half his time on the injured list or back in the KHL to be in a comfort zone. Last year, he came back stateside to give it one more shot with us, and he managed to score zero goals in 57 games.

The Avs picked him up for this season and he’s had the opportunity to skate around and participate in the NHL playoffs. I hope he’s enjoyed his time in Edmonton and will go home feeling a little bit less shitty about being the biggest bust in our franchise history.

Game 4: Valeri Nichushkin Gets His Participation Ribbon

Game 3: Avalanche Finally Put up a Fight and Gasp for Air

Colorado showed a lot of heart in game three and put up the best fight I’ve ever seen from them, and we still almost won. Our two wins were blowouts; their lone win came after trailing in the 3rd period. I’m still feeling good.

Avs did start the third period with a 3-1, but then we started dominating the final third just like we have in the first two games. Three goals in six minutes, starting with this absolute rocket our badass Russian rookie…

We ended up leading 4-3 with eight minutes to go, but to the Avs credit they put up a fight to stay alive. Good on them for not making such an easy kill. I’m impressed, but also not TOO impressed.

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The series restarts with a back-to-back today and tomorrow. The Avs can’t beat us twice in a back-to-back, so we’ll go into Wednesday up 3-2 minimum if it goes that far.

Colorado might get some reinforcements with the postponement break. They get defenseman Nikita Zadurov today, and might get forward Matt Calvert tomorrow or Wednesday. The latter is more important, so hopefully we bury them before it comes to that. I’m pretty confident we will.

Game 3: Avalanche Finally Put up a Fight and Gasp for Air

Game 2: Stars Murder the Avs Again

Another game, another domination by the Dallas Stars. Razor proclaimed this series to be over already and I have to agree. We absolutely own this team and are living rent free inside their heads.

Colorado did have a good start because their coach went nuclear to fire them up, and then we hurt ourselves with four early penalties. Avs scored twice but couldn’t bury us because Dobby is playing out of his mind. 19 saves off 20 shots in the first period alone.

Then came the 5v3s…

For us, it was two goals in 43 seconds. For them, it was tight stick gripping and choking. From that point on, it was a rout.

Four total goals in the second period and one more ten seconds into the 3rd. Final score of this beatdown: 5-2 Stars.

The Avalanche are just plain and simple not ready for high level playoff hockey. They remind me a lot of the Lightning of recent years. Great talent, especially at the top end, but severely lacking in the physicality and tenacity required to win hard playoff series.

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One key stat that stands out is 3rd period high danger scoring chances. We’ve given up TWO total. One each in both games. We are killing them in closeout time.

There’s several possible reasons for this. We have that one year of Hitch hockey that might be finally reaping all the dividends now. We also have more depth and are beating them up all game to make them gassed by the end.

Then there’s the fact that the Avs are just arrogant. Razor brought this up yesterday morning and said they’ve been playing arrogantly just like they did against us in the glory days. They have all the talent for scoring but aren’t working to get better chances for that scoring.

High danger chances are essentially shots from right in front of the goal or close rebounds. The Avs love their sniping game and think they’re dangerous from anywhere past the blue line. That’s not gonna cut it against Dobby.

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Speaking of Dobby, he was the obvious #1 hero of the night. 38 saves over 40 shots. Unreal.

His Russian buddy Radulov, who I had soured on until Tuesday night, had another goal and assist. That’s five total points over two games.

I fucking love Russians.

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The series is 2-0 and the odds have now completely flipped from +240 Stars to +231 Avs. We have a chance to bury them tonight. At the very minimum, we win one of these next two and then go to a back-to-back for games 5/6 that Colorado is definitely not cut out for taking both of.

1999 vibes are getting stronger and stronger by the day.

Game 2: Stars Murder the Avs Again

Game 1: Stars Murder Avs and Injure Two of Their Best Players

Stars +240 eh oddsmakers? I know a bookie or two who may be pissed at that one, you fucken pricks. Chalk game 1 up as a Stars domination.

And when I say domination, I mean right from the start. It took just two shifts for Benn and Seguin to link up on a forechecking goal.

Two things we haven’t seen in forever – early game domination and a Seguin goal. Our favorite bro king had been scoreless (on the ice) for 13 games over six months before that. He’s a streaky scorer and this is the series where we’ll most need a streak from him. Awesome timing.

Physicality and veteran tenacity had to stand out for us in this series, and that’s exactly what we got in the opening goal. We also needed our depth to show out, and our checking line ticked all of the above in a huge shift 10 minutes into the game.

It started with Comeau taking Colorado’s best defenseman and alternate captain to the training room and out of the series for good.

It ended with Comeau scoring a goal. It was the second of three total goals we scored on Grubauer over 24 minutes before he joined Johnson on the series ending injury list. Check off goaltending as another advantage we needed and are currently killing it in so far. 

Grubauer’s replacement is some Czech fucker named Pavel Francouz. He hasn’t done anything in the NHL, but he might be pretty decent because he was a KHL star and got a $2M/yr contract to backup for the Avs. Still, he’s never taken Grubauer’s spot and Grubauer’s not that good to begin with. The chances of us running into a hot goalie like Talbot last series get slimmer.

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Also of note for us is that Radulov scored twice. I’ve been so sick of Radulov all playoffs and thought he was finished. If he starts get going and we have TWO Russians raining goals (him and Gurianov), this team gets scary good.

We closed out the game by allowing only one high danger scoring chance in the 3rd period. Excellent. 5-3 win for Dallas.

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At this point, it’s more than reasonable to expect this series to end up at the same point that Mavs-Clippers would be at right now without the bullshit KP ejection – a comfortable 3-1 lead for Dallas.

The Avs may be talented, but just like the Lightning the past few years they still have to prove they can handle the trials of high level playoff hockey. It’s a different game and it’s one we’ve proven we can play. They haven’t, and it showed on Friday night.

That being said, this MacKinnon fellow, good golly Jesus he is frightening…

Game 2 in a couple hours. Let’s get one tonight and two more after that so we can party just like 1999.

Game 1: Stars Murder Avs and Injure Two of Their Best Players