Blackout Dallas series predictions for Dallas Stars vs. Colorado Avalanche

The Dallas Stars earned the right to take on the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's going to be a big-time matchup between divisional foes. Here are our predictions of how the series will go.
Apr 7, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche fans react following a
Apr 7, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche fans react following a / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Blackout Dallas Staff Series Predictions: Samantha King, Stars in seven

The theme of this year's playoff run appears to be the ghosts of playoffs past. Already, the Stars have gotten revenge on the Vegas Golden Knights and will face off against Colorado. Now the Stars have to prove themselves once more.

The Stars had a long series against Vegas, but this puts them on a winner’s high with building momentum. Contrarily, Colorado has had a lot of rest, but it could be too much downtime. Both teams have a lot of depth and speed, but the Stars likely have the upper hand in the goaltending category. Jake Oettinger has significantly more playoff experience and allows fewer goals than the Avalanche’s Georgiev. Should he play a tight game between the pipes, Oettinger could be the biggest difference-maker in this series.

Match-ups between the two teams have teetered and shown lots of offense on either side. Dallas’ big scorers must show up in this series to help push them to victory. Pavelski, Benn, and Seguin must have a strong presence and find ways to break through against Colorado. The depth of the Stars and the youth of its roster could also provide a point of leverage in terms of speed, provided they’re defensively able to shut down MacKinnon and Colorado’s other top-scoring threats. It will be a hard-fought series again, but the Stars have everything they need to make it through the Avalanche by the end of the series.

Blackout Dallas Staff Series Predictions: Mahima Masih, Stars in seven

Here we go again… again. The Western Conference is abundant in storylines, and the Stars have no shortage of narratives to overcome with Colorado as their next opponent. Defeating Vegas in a rematch of the 2023 Western Conference Finals was just the first step in the long road ahead of this team. It also was a spectacular showcase of how much this team has improved.

Wyatt Johnston. Enough said. He was the most dangerous Star on the ice at any given moment and found a way to break through the seemingly unbeatable Thompson. And that just opened the floodgates. Fellow young players like Stankoven and Harley stepped up in multiple ways.

Chris Tanev is a dream addition to this team and has delivered in every aspect advertised. Jake Oettinger settled in after a rocky start and became a wall. The fourth line was a beast hunting pucks and contributing offensively. 

The Avalanche have Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar. They recently won a cup. They had a week of rest, and Dallas had two days. Yes, the discourse may get insufferable. Undoubtedly, Joel Kiviranta will score a goal against the Stars. Again, narratives abound. We’re back in the bubble, and nothing has changed, but yet it has

The Stars haven’t even scratched their ceiling yet. In the upcoming series against the Avalanche, the attacking play of the first round will have to continue with more contributions from players like Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski. DeBoer needs to figure out what to do with the sixth defenseman spot and if he can trust Lundkvist. It’s foolhardy to run five defensemen all series against this Avalanche team. 

It’ll be a tough playoff series that should be full of skill and physicality. But the Stars have shown they’re built differently this year. 

Blackout Dallas Staff Series Predictions: Nick Lacoste, Stars in seven

From a statistical perspective, the Dallas Stars have been outplayed by the Avalanche for most of this year. Specifically, in five games this season against the Avs, Dallas went 1-3-1, conceding an average of 5 goals per game. However, Dallas’ PowerPlay was 41% against Colorado this year, while their Penalty Kill was a subpar 63%. In a small 5-game sample, it’s hard to tell if this is a preview of how Dallas will perform, but I’m looking forward to a high-scoring series.

Between Dallas and Colorado this season, there has been an average of 8.75 goals per game, along with ~135 shot attempts per game (according to NaturalStatTrick). Based on the offensive game plans for both teams, it would be interesting to see if the game tightens up for “playoff hockey” or if each game is a high-scoring open-ice affair.

Looking back at the Colorado/Winnipeg first-round playoff series, each game’s winner was the team with the highest High-Danger Goals For % (HDGF%). Colorado dominated most games, having more expected goals in every game except for their 6-2 win in Game 3 (somehow). Overall, the key for Dallas is to mitigate high-danger chances from Colorado’s best forwards while attacking the Avalanche’s net-front area to create scoring chances in areas where defenders and goalies cannot react. Johnston has seemingly been the only forward to have figured this out at an elite level so far:

Blackout Dallas Staff Series Predictions: Brian Sweet, Stars in five

I think this series will wrap up faster than people expect. The Stars got a massive momentum boost after defeating the Stanley Cup Champions in seven games. The Stars now know they can hang with the best in the Western Conference Playoffs. The second is Oettinger because he gives the Stars a massive win in the goaltending category since Alexandar Georgiev is having a rough time stopping the puck.

The Stars will need to slow down two of the top players in the league to advance to the Western Conference Finals. Tanev has not allowed a goal while on the ice so far in the playoffs. That will play into stopping Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar from being factors for Colorado in this series. I also think that with the Stars having home ice advantage throughout the Western Conference Playoffs will also play a massive factor in the first two games.

If Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski find their scoring touch in the first two games against the Avalanche, this could be over quickly. I expect it to be another grudge match for the Stars like it was against Vegas. However, I don't think the Avalanche's goaltending is as strong as fans realize, and it could lead to an early exit. That's why I have the Stars in five over the Colorado Avalanche.