The second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs is looming and that means the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars will face off Saturday for Game One of their series.
The Stars won’t even get a practice day before facing the Avalanche, who’re on a mandated day off to Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. They just wrapped playing five games in eight nights, but it’s back to business.
Colorado is coming off its first-round victory over the Arizona Coyotes, wrapping the series four games to one with a punishing final two wins. Re-seeding rules in the bubble mean the Avalanche will be the “host team” for the Stars.
Dallas is coming off an astonishing 7-3 win over the Calgary Flames Thursday. It was a comeback of epic proportions that could give the Stars a momentum edge for Game One.
Colorado did well to overtake the Coyotes in the first round, but the Stars are a whole new ballgame and possess stronger defence. John Klingberg was a beast in the Calgary series.
At the core of this series is the matchup between Miro Heiskanen of the Stars and Cale Makar of the Avalanche. The two 21-year-olds are, along with Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes, the future of defence in the National Hockey League. This series will be a great showcase for them.
So far in the bubble, Heiskanen been the best player for the Stars. According to Dallas coach Rick Bowness, Heiskanen drove the comeback in Game Six and kept his team calm.
“In a game like that, you need someone on your bench to step up and to say, ‘OK, jump on my back and I’m going to get this thing turned around,’” Bowness said. “Miro did that. He just took the game over. He wants to be on the ice, he wants to calm things down, he wants to take charge of the game. That’s how good he is.”
Up front, the Stars are a gritty team capable of playing with skill. Players like Corey Perry provide headaches for the opposition, while the Avalanche counter with the likes of Nazem Kadri and Matt Calvert. The former had a great series against Arizona, so watch him this round.
The Stars have owned the Avalanche in the regular season, but life in the bubble is something else. This series should be a dandy, a showdown of skill and sturdy defence, grit and speed.