Game 3 of Avalanche – Stars happened, and it was a wild one. After many twists and turns, the Avalanche took a 6-4 Game 3 win, reducing the Stars’ series lead to 2-1.
Rick Bowness and the Stars couldn’t have been happy by a lack of late calls, but the Avalanche won nonetheless. There’s a lot to digest. Things definitely got nasty, including a Mikko Rantanen cross-check on Miro Heiskanen that didn’t prompt a penalty, and plenty beyond that.
(Note: there was no “moment of reflection” before this game.)
Avalanche win Game 3 vs. Stars after plenty of twists and turns
After the Stars managed a 1-0 first period lead, many wondered if the Avalanche were truly crumbling. That narrative wouldn’t hold, but the script flipped over and over again.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Consider the second period the first of many swerves. After Nikita Zadorov scored one minute into the middle frame, the Avs started humming. Cale Makar created chaos to set up two more goals (one by Andre Burakovsky, another by Gabriel Landeskog), giving the Avalanche a 3-1 lead through 40.
That lead would not hold.
Not only did the Stars stunningly tie things up 3-3 in the third, they actually took a 4-3 lead.
Denis Gurianov made it 3-2, Blake Comeau tied it about four minutes later, and less than two minutes later, Jamie Benn deflected a puck in to give the Stars a 4-3 lead midway through the third.
Instead of being totally deflated, the Avalanche responded. Mikko Rantanen scored a huge goal off of a great Nathan MacKinnon pass, then Nazem Kadri collected another big, game-winning goal. Once Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored his first playoff tally with an empty-netter, the Avalanche could exhale. Kind of.
There was still that nastiness, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that spill over. As close as the Stars came to pushing the Avalanche to the brink of elimination, this Game 3 win gets the Avs back in this Second Round series. Phew.
No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars (DAL leads 2-1)
Game 1: Stars 5, Avalanche 3. (recap)
Game 2: Stars 5, Avalanche 2. (recap)
Game 3: Avalanche 6, Stars 4
Game 4: Friday, Aug. 28, 10 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 5: Sunday, Aug. 30 – TBD
*Game 6: Monday, Aug. 31 – TBD
*Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 2 – TBD
MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.