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Stars Prepare for Crucial Game 4 Against Avalanche

Goalie Jake Oettinger #29 of the Dallas Stars makes a save against Brandon Duhaime #12 of the Colorado Avalanche | Image by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Goalie Jake Oettinger #29 of the Dallas Stars makes a save against Brandon Duhaime #12 of the Colorado Avalanche | Image by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Dallas Stars will take on the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of the second round of the NHL Playoffs on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

Dallas will look to take a 3-1 lead in the series following two straight dominant wins against the high-scoring Avalanche, as the Stars have held Colorado to just four total goals in their two wins.

The Stars have been led in the playoffs by 24-year-old defenseman Miro Heiskanen, who has accumulated three goals and six assists during 10 games played through the team’s first two series.

Center Wyatt Johnston and left wing Jason Robertson follow closely behind Heiskanen, with each contributing eight total points in the same timeframe.

Dallas has emphasized its defense during this series, as Colorado’s formidable offense has proven itself after scoring at least five goals in each of its games during the team’s first-round matchup against the Winnipeg Jets.

Colorado has been led in its playoff run by center Nathan MacKinnon, defenseman Cale Makar, and right wing Mikko Rantanen, who each contributed 12 total points in their last eight games.

The Stars’ emphasis on defense helped them immensely in Game 3, as they held the Avalanche scoreless during the latter’s three power plays.

Stars goalie Jake Oettinger has been one of the most important parts of the team throughout the series, keeping 90.7% of shots on goal from getting past him. He has only given up four despite defending against 60 shots on goal in the last two games.

Dallas will now look to increase its series lead, with Coach Pete DeBoer saying that the young players on the team have been crucial as they get deeper into the playoffs, noting that they have been effective with fresher legs than some of the veterans.

DeBoer pointed to 20-year-old Johnston, 21-year-old Logan Stankoven, and 22-year-old defenseman Thomas Harley, explaining, “All three of those kids are playing big roles for us, major roles.”

“And they do have energy. They don’t look as fatigued on back-to-back nights or as the series gets going. You need those young legs if you’re going to go anywhere and go through the gauntlet and the grind of what we’re going through right now. So, those guys bring a youthful enthusiasm every day that I think is contagious to our group,” he said.

Dallas will enter Game 4 with only defenseman Jani Hakanpaa listed on the injury report as he is currently day-to-day due to an undisclosed lower-body injury.

Similarly, Colorado has just one significant player currently listed on the injury report. Left wing Jonathan Drouin is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Both Hakanpaa and Drouin are expected to be available for their teams once the game begins.

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