The Avalanche, facing the suddenly red-hot Dallas Stars, has had virtually no offensive production outside of its top line through two games of the Western Conference semifinal series in Edmonton.
Besides a secondary assist from second-line center Nazem Kadri in Game 1, Colorado’s five goals in the series have all come from the top line at even strength (three) or the power play (two).
Dallas, meanwhile, has 29 goals in its last seven games (4.14 goals-per-game). The Stars were 26th in scoring during the regular season (2.58 goals-per-game).
“It’s gone away a little bit,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of secondary scoring after Monday’s 5-2 loss in Game 2 that gave the Stars a 2-0 series lead. “Definitely more mental than physical. I think our intentions are right and some guys are questioning themselves a little bit.
“We’ll try to help them out of it as best we can. If we had a little bit more of (secondary scoring) we probably wouldn’t be in an 0-2 hole, but we are. That’s behind us. We’re going to need our big guys to be good coming up. We’re going to need more out of the guys that we can use some depth scoring from. Full-team effort in order to win. I believe we have it in us. I don’t think it’s all of a sudden miraculously gone. Again, the challenge with us right now is the mental side of it and believing we can do it and get back on track.”
The Avalanche’s top line of center Nathan MacKinnon and wingers Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen have 11 points (five goals) in the series. Colorado’s only other players with points are Kadri and defensemen Sam Girard (two assists) and Cale Makar (one assist).
Forwards Valeri Nichushkin, Joonas Donskoi and Andre Burakovsky were each minus-2 Monday. Girard was a team-worst minus-3.
MacKinnon matches Sakic. MacKinnon’s first-period power-play goal Monday extended his playoff points streak to 10 games, tying Joe Sakic (1996) for the club record to begin a postseason.
MacKinnon’s seven goals in this postseason are also tied for most in the league and most by an Avalanche player since Sakic in 2003-04 (also seven).
MacKinnon, who leads the NHL in playoff scoring with 18 points, had seven shots in the first period Monday — the most in a period during the playoffs by any player since Pittsburgh’s James Neal had seven vs. Philadelphia on April 15, 2012.
Footnotes. Makar logged 27:48, the most minutes ever by an Avalanche rookie in the playoffs. … Rantanen had a goal and an assist Monday to extend his point streak to five games. He has eight points over that span and is tied for third in NHL playoff scoring with 13 points. … The Avalanche blocked just four shots Monday, compared to 20 for the Stars. … Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov logged just 11:22 of ice time and partner Ian Cole played just 14:36.
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