After controversial call, Stars eliminate Avalanche in Game 6: 5 takeaways (2024)

DENVER — The Dallas Stars are off to the Western Conference final for the second year in a row, and it’s hard to imagine their journey not reaching the Stanley Cup Final with the kind of hockey they continue to play.

Matt duch*ene, the former Avalanche first-round pick who requested a trade out of Colorado in 2017, scored in double overtime after a net-front scramble to eliminate the Avalanche with a 2-1 victory in Game 6 on Friday.


“Just elation, right?” duch*ene said. “Hard-fought series. They’re a hell of team, obviously. They were really good the last two games and they pushed us hard. … We were just able to kind of outlast them.”

One period earlier, duch*ene was at the center of controversy.

With 7:29 remaining in the first overtime period, Dallas’ Mason Marchment had a goal waved off when on-ice officials ruled that duch*ene had made contact with Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev. Colorado’s Cale Makar made contact with duch*ene before the goalie contact, but the Toronto review process upheld the on-ice call.

“It’s indescribable,” Marchment said of seeing the goal disallowed. “You’re so happy and see all the boys hopping over the bench and then I look over and (the ref is) kind of waving it off. …

“The explanation that I got was (duch*ene’s butt) was over the line. His feet were outside but his (butt) was over the line. That’s the explanation I got. Then he got pushed in. I think, honestly, they didn’t want to make it a deciding goal, right? I get it, but I think there’s got to be some sort of standard, because you can’t push a guy into your own goalie and not it be goaltender interference. There’s just got to be some sort of standard, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. We got the job done. It’s awesome.”

The officials’ call on the ice was very impactful, no question, in the final decision to leave it as a no-goal. The situation room in Toronto would not have seen 100 percent evidence to overturn the call on the ice. But I’m confident that had the call on the ice been a good goal, Toronto would not have overturned it, either. They saw it as a close call, either way.

Me? I saw it as a good goal. duch*ene got pushed in by Makar. I would have called that a goal.

Hank says the no-goal call on the Stars was correct. Biz and Ace disagree 😅

— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) May 18, 2024

In the end, though, the Stars disposed of the 2022 Stanley Cup champion Avalanche after outlasting the 2023 Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights in a seven-game opening round.

“A fun victory for us,” duch*ene said, “and nice to not have to play seven games again. And hopefully get a little bit of rest here. I think we’ve played 11 games the last 22 days. Be nice to have a little reset here.”


And duch*ene got a big moment against his former team.

“Ecstatic,” Marchment said when asked how happy he was that duch*ene scored the winner. “He’s a great guy and very much a team guy and, you know, for him to get one against his old team, (it) means the world to him. We love to see it as teammates. Hopefully he keeps rolling to the next round. I love the celebration, so it’s great.”

IT HAD TO BE MATT duch*eNE!!!!!!!

— z – Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) May 18, 2024

The Stars sure earned their way to the conference finals.

Looking for offense on Friday night with his team down 1-0 after two periods — and once again without Roope Hintz — Stars head coach Pete DeBoer tweaked his forward lines to start the third period, as Jamie Benn joined Evgenii Dadonov and Tyler Seguin while Jason Robertson took Benn’s spot with the kids, Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven.

The move paid near immediate dividends, with Dadonov finding Benn with a beauty of a pass and the Stars’ captain tying the game 1-1 just 1:56 into the third period. Dallas had its best period of the game, enjoying a 12-8 edge in scoring chances at five-on-five according to Natural Stat Trick.

Still, as evidenced by a game needing extra time, this was a closely contested game, with scoring chances at 25-25 according to Natural Stat Trick after the third period at five-on-five. The eye test said the same, with each team having to fight through tight checking for their chances.

“We fought hard,” Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon said. “The effort was there the whole series. It’s a tough team. We played two of the toughest teams in the league, right off the bat. You know, just didn’t score enough. That’s what it came down to. We didn’t convert on a ton of good chances.”

For the Stars, it was paramount to end the series on Friday night, with the team playing its 13th postseason game — and remember that Dallas barely got a breather between rounds after beating Vegas in Game 7.


That’s not to say Dallas couldn’t have won Game 7 at home on Sunday had the Avs won in overtime here Friday night, but heading to the conference finals with the maximum 14 games played would have been less than ideal.

“I just couldn’t be prouder of our group,” DeBoer said. “Everybody dug deep. And our depth did carry us through. That gave us the spark. We’ve got a mix of older and younger guys and they were just fantastic.

“It’s just hard to believe that, with a gauntlet like that, you’re only halfway there. But we’re going to enjoy and need the time off here. And get ready for the next round.”

Tanev, MacKinnon battle to the end

We stressed the importance right from the opening puck drop in Game 1, how crucial the Chris Tanev defensive matchup on MacKinnon would be a major storyline in this series.

The Stars tried to get Tanev on the ice any time they could when MacKinnon jumped over the boards, and it was terrific theater to watch that matchup go back and forth. I would give the nod to McKinnon in Games 1 and 5, I would say Game 6 was a saw-off, and that Tanev got the upper hand in Games 2 through 4.

You don’t really totally shut down MacKinnon. That’s not humanly possible. He had his moments with two goals and three assists in the series. And in Game 6 on Friday night, he had a big-time jump, blowing by Miro Heiskanen of all people late in the first period, only to be thwarted by Jake Oettinger. MacKinnon looked dangerous all night, but just couldn’t get one. He had nine shot attempts through three periods.

Overall, what an impressive job by Tanev in this series five-on-five on the Avs’ top line.

Two rounds into the playoffs, I think we can declare Tanev the most successful trade deadline pickup of the year.

It’s really incredible how Tanev has fit into this Stars lineup, like he’s been here forever, as I wrote about earlier in the series,


Tanev isn’t 100 percent right now, that’s for sure. A couple days of rest ahead of the conference finals will do him well.

Stars make interesting move on defense

The Stars swapped No. 6 defensem*n in the lineup, inserting 32-year-old veteran Alexander Petrovic for Nils Lundkvist. And unlike Lundkvist, who barely played any minutes (he played 2:28 in Game 5), Petrovic got a decent turn on the third pairing with Ryan Suter on Friday night, playing 8:54 minutes on 13 shifts through three periods and then another 7:31 in overtime.

That’s impressive given that Petrovic hadn’t played an NHL playoff game since 2015-16 with the Panthers. And his last game with the Stars was Feb. 19, also his last NHL appearance this season. The 6-foot-5 Edmonton native played the entire season in the AHL, where he had big usage, especially in the playoffs. And I would underline the 6-foot-5 aspect as part of the reason he got the call on Friday night.

Bigger picture, I wonder if this is the Stars’ coaching staff realizing that playing mostly five defensem*n might be difficult over four rounds — if they go all the way.

Jani Hakanpaa is also on the mend and might also be an option soon for the Stars.

Oh my goodness Mikko Rantanen 🤯#GoAvsGo | #ALLIN

— x – Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 18, 2024

Avs score first!

It’s wild to think a six-game series saw the Avs only score first once, which finally happened Friday night on Mikko Rantanen’s power-play marker in the second period.

You might ask, why that matters so much, but one thing Avs coach Jared Bednar mentioned a few days ago, about finally taking an in-game lead in Game 5, was that it’s been difficult chasing the series for so long in the opening four games because Colorado hadn’t forced Dallas out of its game plan and forced the Stars to open things up.


So yes, it sure mattered to Bednar that his team finally opened the scoring in this series Friday night. It allowed the Avs to play the game more on their terms and not force pucks into turnovers when Dallas so effectively protects a lead. In the end, though, the Avs’ season ended.

Respect for Georgiev

A tip of the hat to Georgiev, who was darn good for a second game in a row with this team’s season on the line. Georgiev made 36 saves in Game 6.

Let’s not kid ourselves, when I discuss the Avs with front-office people around the league, Georgiev routinely gets singled out as Colorado’s weak link in their eyes. And to be fair, his season has certainly had its ups and downs.

But facts are facts. He topped presumed Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck in the first round and went toe-to-toe with Jake Oettinger in this series, with the Stars netminder absolutely perceived as being an edge at that position before this series.

If I’m the Avs, I feel a lot better about Georgiev after his performance in these playoffs.

What’s next for the Avs …

The Avs’ front office, led by GM Chris MacFarland, is potentially staring at a $13.125 million dark hole on the team’s salary cap with Valeri Nichushkin ($6.125 million AAV) and captain Gabriel Landeskog ($7 million AAV).

I do believe there’s a chance Landeskog was going to try to give it a go in the Western Conference final, had the Avs got past the Stars. Or at least he would have tried to talk the Avs into it. Whether or not he would have received the green light, we’ll never know now. He had been skating with the team almost every day as of late. But even so, how he fares whenever he does return is still a mystery, given that no other hockey player has ever tried to play after having the type of knee surgery he had a year ago in May. His initial recovery time was 12 to 16 months, and he’s at 12 months into that recovery. Here’s hoping that when he returns, there’s no setback. That would be huge for Colorado, but the reality is that neither Landeskog nor the Avs know for sure how that’s going to go once he attempts to return next season.


In the meantime, Nichushkin is gone for six months, suspended without pay, as part of being placed into Stage 3 of the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Who knows exactly what his future with the Avs looks like. But as noted before, the Avs can’t just terminate his contract. They don’t have grounds to do that, as per a league source.

So, add it all up, and it’s a rather difficult position for the Avs to be in as they attempt to keep their Cup-contending window open, built around studs such as MacKinnon, Makar and Rantanen.

(Photo of Matt duch*ene: Michael Martin / NHLI via Getty Images)

After controversial call, Stars eliminate Avalanche in Game 6: 5 takeaways (2024)


Who won the Stars Avalanche game tonight? ›

DENVER -- Matt duch*ene scored at 11:42 of the second overtime, and the Dallas Stars eliminated the Colorado Avalanche with a 2-1 win in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round at Ball Arena on Friday.

Who scored in the Dallas Stars game? ›

duch*ene scores winner in 2nd OT, Stars advance to Western Conference final with 2-1 win over Avs. Video Player is loading.

What is the record for the Stars vs Avalanche? ›

The Dallas Stars have a 68-67-12-9 record versus the Avalanche all-time.

How many times did the Avalanche win? ›

Recent News. Colorado Avalanche, American professional ice hockey team based in Denver that plays in the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Avalanche have won three Stanley Cup championships (1996, 2001, and 2022).

What year did the Avalanche win? ›

Colorado Avalanche
Stanley Cups3 (1995–96, 2000–01, 2021–22)
Conference championships3 (1995–96, 2000–01, 2021–22)
Presidents' Trophy3 (1996–97, 2000–01, 2020–21)
Division championships12 (1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2013–14, 2020–21, 2021–22, 2022–23)
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Who owns the Dallas Stars hockey team? ›

Thomas (Tom) Gaglardi is the owner and governor of the Dallas Stars Hockey Club and the president of Northland Properties Corporation, the largest family-owned hospitality company in Canada with its head offices located in Vancouver, B.C. He was officially introduced as the sixth owner in franchise history on Nov.

How good are the Dallas Stars? ›

The Dallas Stars have boasted a knack for making history this season. Their 52-21-9 regular-season record was the second-best in franchise history, trailing only the 1998-99 campaign when they won their only Stanley Cup. Included was a 26-10-5 mark on the road, a new franchise record.

Who is the best Avalanche player of all-time? ›

Joe Sakic`

Who is the best Avalanche all-time? ›

1.Joe Sakic (C)870
2.Nathan MacKinnon (C/RW)791
3.Milan Hejduk (RW)1020
4.Peter Forsberg (C)544
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Have the Avalanche ever won a Stanley Cup? ›

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri lifts the Stanley Cup after the team defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Which NHL team has the most Stanley Cups? ›

Montreal Canadiens

How many Stanley Cups has Colorado won? ›

The Colorado Avalanche have won 3 times in the Stanley Cup Finals all-time.

How many Stanley Cups did Patrick Roy win? ›

Nicknamed "Saint Patrick", Roy split his playing career in the National Hockey League (NHL) between the Montreal Canadiens, with whom he played for 11 years, and the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he played for eight years. Roy won the Stanley Cup four times during his career, two with each franchise.

Have the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup? ›

The Colorado Avalanche are professional hockey's new champions — and road warriors with a flair for the dramatic. The team defeated the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 for the Avalanche's first championship in 21 years and third overall Stanley Cup.

Where do the Dallas Stars play? ›

Housing both the NBA Dallas Mavericks and the NHL Dallas Stars, the American Airlines Center displays its unique versatility with its retractable seating transforming from a 20,000 seat basketball arena into an up-close action-heavy 18,532 seat hockey rink.

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