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Series at a Glance
Dynasty that never was vs. dynasty that wants to be
Posted: Wednesday May 10, 2000 09:32 PM
Will Brett Hull and Colorado assistant Bryan Trottier still be smiling and hugging after this heated series? Elsa Hasch/Allsport
By David Vecsey, CNNSI.com
So, they meet again. It was a long, grinding conference final a year ago, when Dallas outlasted Colorado in seven games. It can't get any longer, obviously, but it can get a little nastier.
Colorado is the dynasty that never was, building a powerful championship team in 1996, only to see Detroit steal its thunder the next two seasons ... all on the strength of one Darren McCarty roundhouse. Dallas is the dynasty trying to be, vying for a second straight Stanley Cup with a core of aging players that likely won't get too many more chances.
If there's one odd angle worth noting, it's how both teams dealt with player turnover this past season. Dallas attempted to go youth movement after its title run last year, dispatching guys like Pat Verbeek and Dave Reid to make room for some kids. Then, Bob Gainey spent most of the season picking up greybeards like Dave Manson, Sylvain Cote and Kirk Muller.
Colorado GM Pierre Lacroix, meanwhile, was his usual patient self. He thought about phasing out Patrick Roy with Mark Denis, but didn't. Good move. He stayed put right up until the trade deadline before merely reeling in Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk and their combined 2,700-some career points. Another good move.
What's love go to do with it?
Why the three-day wait between Games 2 and 3? Because a May 17 Tina Turner concert at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Sure both teams are in the same boat, for better or worse, but surely it will appear to affect one or the other more somehow when the time comes. It could break momentum, allow injuries to heal, allow intensity to evaporate, whatever.
Bourque-barrel politics |
We've been harping on the "win one for Raymond" theme since the day he was traded, but now the Avs are in striking range. The only question is: Is Bourque a go? Unless they removed that bum leg, you can bet he'll be on the blue line in Game 1 ... at least the Avs hope so. Enjoy these numbers: Colorado was three games over .500 when it acquired Bourque. The Avs are 17-4-1 with him in the lineup. Pre-Bourque shots allowed were nearly 29 per game; it's down to 22 with him. Colorado has allowed 18 goals in its 10 playoff games. The Avalanche gave up 23 goals in its seven-game loss to the Stars in last season's West final. The Avs had the fourth-best power play at 19.5 percent this season; with Bourque, they're scoring at a 25.2 percent clip.
Something's gotta give
The Dallas Morning News got behind the numbers a little bit and dug up two that could prove vital in this series. Scoring first: Colorado is 6-0 in the playoffs when it scores the first goal; 2-2 when it does not. Dallas is 8-1 with the first goal; 0-1 without it. Faceoffs: Head to head this season, Colorado held a mere 173-171 faceoff edge against Dallas. The Stars have two of the best in Joe Nieuwendyk (62 percent in playoffs, 2nd overall) and Guy Carbonneauor (60 percent in playoffs, 5th overall); while the Avs have struggled, being led by Chris Drury at 52 percent and Joe Sakic at 47 percent.
Martin Skuola was issued a steep challenge in Games 4 and 5 against Detroit: replace Ray Bourque. But replace the injured Bourque he did, pairing up with Adam Foote to stifle the Wings' top-ranked offense in a pair of victories. It's that kind of depth that can win championships.
Earlier this season, Ed Belfour went public with the notion that his talents are comparable with Patrick Roy. Well, now he can back it up. Or not. There's no question that Belfour has been one of the dominant goalies of his era, but don't forget that Roy is always at his best when his buttons are pressed.
| Eric Messier || || Asked to play offense, he did. And scored.|
| Jere Lehtinen || || The Stars only get better when their Selke winner returns to the lineup.|
| This rivalry || ||We wanted to hold on to Colorado-Detroit, but isn't this really where things are at in the West now?|
Home team wins every game.
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