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Second Round

Stars will play Avalanche in Western Conference Second Round

Dallas defeated Calgary, Colorado eliminated Arizona to advance

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars will play the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Second Round.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city, on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, CBC, TVAS). 

Dallas, the No. 3 seed, defeated the Calgary Flames in six games in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Colorado, the No. 2 seed, eliminated the Arizona Coyotes in five games.

"Now getting into the final eight ... it's just going to come down to execution and who can elevate their game," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "... Every team has a chance to win it in this thing, maybe this year more than any other year."

Miro Heiskanen leads the Stars with 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in the postseason. Joe Pavelski (six goals, two assists) had eight points and Denis Gurianov (six goals, one assist) and John Klingberg (one goal, six assists) has each scored seven points. Anton Khudobin is 4-3-0 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. Ben Bishop is 1-1-0 with a 4.04 GAA and .862 save percentage.

"It feels good to end it tonight, earn an extra day or two and start preparing for the next round, because there's always another team waiting and another big challenge ahead of us," Pavelski said after the game Thursday. "We'll enjoy it for a bit and understand where our game's at and go from there."

Nathan MacKinnon leads the Avalanche with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in the postseason. Nazem Kadri (six goals, five assists) has 11 points and Mikko Rantanen has 10 points (three goals, seven assists). Philipp Grubauer is 5-0-1 with a 1.49 GAA and .937 save percentage. Pavel Francouz is 1-1-0 with a 1.02 GAA and .937 save percentage.

"I watched some of [the Stars-Flames series]. Obviously, this is a team we know pretty well from playing in the regular season," Bednar said. "Them or us, we're not changing a whole lot from when we were playing in the regular season, even though it's playoff time. I think they had a bit of a slow start coming into the bubble but it looks recently, I watched their last couple of games and they're firing on all cylinders. They're starting to look like the team they expected to be."

The Stars won all four games against the Avalanche this season. Roope Hintz (two goals, two assists) and John Klingberg (four assists) each scored four points, and Radek Faksa and Jason Dickinson scored two goals each. Bishop was 3-0-0 allowing five goals on 123 shots (1.61 GAA, .959 save percentage). Khudobin made 38 saves in a 2-1 win Nov. 1.

MacKinnon led the Avalanche with three points (one goal, two assists), and J.T. Compher (two goals), Cale Makar (two assists) and Matt Nieto (two assists) each scored two points. Grubauer was 0-2-2 with a 2.70 GAA and .920 save percentage.

"I mean, [the Stars have] gotten better as the qualifier and playoff has gone on," Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said. "They battled back against Calgary, got some timely goals, and they're a veteran team with some really good defensemen who log a lot of minutes and do a lot of heavy lifting for them. Some guys up front who can put the puck in the net. It's probably a heavier series, probably some more physicality than we had in the last one. So we're looking forward to it."

This will be the fifth playoff series between Dallas and Colorado. Each has won two, with the Avalanche winning the most recent in five games in the 2006 Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The Stars and Avalanche each advanced to the second round for the second straight season. staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report

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