EDMONTON, Alberta - Don’t call it a rematch. Yes, the last time the Dallas Stars were in the playoffs, they were eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round. But that defeat was two years and one lockout ago. So the Stars won’t draw too much inspiration from thoughts of revenge. “There’s no extra motivation, that’s why they call it the past,” Stars captain Mike Modano told The Dallas Morning News when asked about playing either the Avalanche or Anaheim, which eliminated Dallas from the 2002-2003 playoffs. “It’s been awhile, and those teams are signifi- cantly different than when we played them. And, really, we’re pretty different too.” Indeed, two years ago, Colorado had home-ice advantage in its series with the Stars. This year, play will start in Dallas on Friday or Saturday — the Stars’ reward for finishing the regular season with the second-best record in the Western Conference — and the Avalanche is a decided underdog. “Great team,” Colorado’s Rob Blake said of the Stars. “They have tremendous goaltending, their defense, led by (Sergei) Zubov and (Philippe) Boucher, they move the puck very well. And obviously their forward lines. . . . they have a lot of energy.” Dallas, which finished the season Tuesday with a 5-4 overtime loss to Columbus, compiled a record of 53-23-6 this season for 112 points — 17 more than the Avalanche. The Stars also took three of four meetings with Colorado, though two came in shootouts, which won’t be used in the playoffs. Colorado’s lone victory in the series came in its second game of the season, on Oct. 8. Marek Svatos scored the gamewinner to give Colorado a 3-2 decision, but Svatos’ promising rookie campaign was cut short by a shoulder injury. Dallas won the teams’ mostrecent meeting, 5-3, on March 4. “They do a lot of things right, and they’re having a real strong year,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “Compared to the last time these guys faced one another, (Dallas) this year has been as good as anybody in the league. . . . We’re going to have to be at our best. We’ve got a lot of respect for them.” Dallas has a clear advantage in net — where many a playoff series have been won or lost. While the Avalanche will rely on Jose Theodore, who is 1-3-1 in his short stint with Colorado, Dallas has goalie Marty Turco, who compiled 41 victories — second-most in the league — with a 2.55 goalsagainst average. Turco also stopped four of Colorado’s five attempts in the teams’ two shootouts. The lone goal was scored by Svatos. “He’s been great,” Blake said of Turco. “He’s a reaction goalie, he’s been on since day one right on through this whole season, and he’s the reason that team is up that high.” Colorado’s power play and penalty kill units both are ranked ahead of Dallas’ special teams groups. But the Avalanche power play has been anemic of late, going 1-for-27 in Colorado’s past seven games against playoff teams. “Special teams is going to be critical and important,” Quenneville said. “They play a really strong team game. That's where we’ve got to shore things up — without the puck.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0365 or firstname.lastname@example.org NEXT First round, Colorado (43-30-9) at Dallas (53-23-6), 1 p.m. Saturday, NBC, according to NHL.com.
Colorado Springs Gazette has disabled the comments for this article.