It’s the shocker of the first round; the Colorado Avalanche led by Joe Sakic’s leadership toppled the number two seed in the Western Division. The Avs eliminated the Stars in their own home on Sunday with a 3-2 victory, taking their best of seven series 4 games to 1.
Jose Theodore cemented his place with the Avs with a remarkable performance in over time, stopping 11 Stars shots in a frantic scramble in the Colorado end of the ice. The Stars who played desperate hockey in the OT, took shot after shot on the Avalanche goaltender, all to no avail. The Stars had perhaps their best game of the series, as they controlled the play through the second and third periods, but by far the reason the Avs have advanced and shocked the Dallas faithful was on the play of Theodore, who was simply amazing at all the right times..
The result was highly unexpected; Dallas was a power all season long in the regular season and were expected to advance with ease over a Colorado squad that stumbled into the playoff round. But once the puck dropped in game one, the Avs once again came out to play hard.
With captain Sakic once again rising to the occasion, they played a hard hitting and fast paced style of hockey that the Stars at times seemed to have problems adjusting to. When the Stars did get their act together, Theodore was there to shut the door. He was particularly effective in the third period of play as he consistently kept the Stars from putting the game away; leaving his team mates the opportunity to get that one final goal to end the Stars season.
In their final period of play, the Overtime on Sunday, the Stars outshot the Avs 11-4, yet could not gain the winning goal to extend the series to a game six. It all ended for them with a play from Sakic who took the puck out from the corner dasher boards, into the slot and then his shot on Marty Turco led to the rebound that Andrew Brunette popped away for the series ending goal.
The term second season gets tossed around rather liberally at this time of the year, but for Colorado is truly is a second chance to expunge the regular season and concentrate on winning but four games out of seven, per series.
With round one under their belt, they’re well on their way to recapturing that form that many remember from past Avalanche squads. For Dallas, they now will have time to try and piece together how a season of such promise went so wrong, so fast.