3 keys to a Colorado Avalanche series victory over Stars

Colorado Avalanche v Winnipeg Jets - Game Five
Colorado Avalanche v Winnipeg Jets - Game Five / David Lipnowski/GettyImages
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After it seemed the sky might be falling in the immediate aftermath of Game 1 of the first-round series against the Jets, the Avalanche got down to business, steadied the ship, and went on to dominate the rest of the series, dispatching Winnipeg in five games, four games to one.

Colorado’s offense was a juggernaut, scoring five or more goals in all five games in the first round. Backstop Alexandar Georgiev started the series slow but bounced back in a big way, providing timely saves for the Avalanche throughout the rest of the series.

Colorado tightened the reins on Winnipeg over the final four games of the series, only allowing more than two goals one time after the Jets’ seven-goal outburst in Game 1.

The Avalanche are riding momentum going into their second-round series against the tough Dallas Stars, the winners of the Central Division during the regular season, and the top seed in the entire Western Conference for these playoffs.

The Avalanche will need to be firing on all cylinders to be victorious in this series, and if they can be successful with these three keys, they’ll move forward to the Western Conference Finals.

No. 3 key to a Colorado Avalanche series victory over Stars: Valeri Nichushkin needs to keep scoring

For those who watched the first round, Val Nichushkin was a man amongst boys. His physicality and net-front presence had a massive impact on the Jets, and in turn, helped the Avalanche offense find its rhythm.

For Nichushkin himself, he currently leads the playoffs with seven goals, and he’s only played five games. He was a +4 in the series as well, meaning when he’s on the ice, the Avalanche has an advantage. The 6’4” 210 lb. Cheyabinsk, Russia-native was drafted in the first round by Dallas in 2013, and they wish he was still wearing Victory Green instead of having to determine how to stop him in this series.

With Nichushkin playing the way he is, the top line for the Avs becomes even more formidable. If Val is charging the net and being an immovable object on the power play, that opens ice for players like Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, neither of whom need any extra help.

The Stars are a quality team, and they’ll have a game plan for Nichushkin, but if he continues to play at the pace he played in the first round, the Avalanche should have a distinct advantage.