Work in Sports
DALLAS (Ticker) -- Milan Hejduk made up for lost time.
Hejduk, who missed the final three games of last year's Western Conference finals with a broken collarbone, scored the opening goal and Patrick Roy made it stand up as the Colorado Avalanche posted a 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game One.
Roy made 24 saves and Aaron Miller scored the other goal for the Avalanche, who are trying to avenge a loss to defending Stanley Cup champion Dallas in last year's Western Conference final.
"I think it's pretty safe to say it was the start of the war," Colorado coach Bob Hartley said.
Winning the opener gives Colorado home-ice advantage and -- if playoff history since the 1967-68 merger means anything --perhaps a lot more. Since the league began expansion, the team taking Game One of a playoff series is 231-109, a .679 winning percentage.
The Avalanche beat the Stars in Game One of last year's conference final and ended up losing in seven games. Game Two is Monday in Dallas.
"We won the first one and lost the second one (last year), but I think this year will be totally different," Hejduk predicted.
The Stars had won eight straight home playoff games until running into Colorado, which is 9-2 in the 2000 postseason, winning the last three games as defenseman Ray Bourque has rested what he termed a minor knee injury.
"I wouldn't be skating the way I am skating if it was anything more than that," Bourque said before the game. "Like I said, it is real close and it is going to happen soon. Hopefully it is Monday. We will take it day by day."
With just under seven minutes left, Dallas mounted a barrage against Roy, who lost his stick early in the sequence. But Roy turned aside multiple offerings from rookie Brenden Morrow, Mike Modano and Brett Hull.
He also thwarted a couple of chances by Morrow earlier in the period, in which Dallas held a 13-2 edge in shots.
"They knew they didn't have to force the issue in the third," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "When you look at the faceoffs and when you look at some loose puck battles, I think those are two key areas that they beat us on tonight. We also couldn't get that many second opportunities."
It was the 14th career shutout for Roy, tying him with Jacques Plante for second on the all-time list. He has two shutouts in these playoffs.
With the Avalanche on a power play at 8:51 of the second period, Hejduk scored his third goal of the playoffs to give Colorado the lead for good. Ed Belfour stopped shots by Adam Foote and Dave Andreychuk before Hejduk scored from a hard angle on the right side.
"The rebound came to me and I was on the side of the net and had an open net," Hejduk said. "It was a huge win for us, especially on the road. We started off this series with a good win."
The Colorado power play is 13-for-57 (22.8 percent) in the playoffs, while the penalty killers also did their job tonight, keeping the Stars scoreless in five chances -- four in the first period.
"I hope we don't try that again," said Hartley.
"We did a lot of good things, especially in the first period, when we were very effective killing penalties," Roy said. "In the second period we did an outstanding job of capitalizing on the opportunities and taking the lead. But I think we tried to protect the lead a little too much in the third."
Miller tallied his first of the playoffs at 17:32 of the second, beating Belfour to the glove side from the bottom of the slot with a one-time snap shot. Peter Forsberg blitzed the net with the puck but lost possession in close before Miller, trailing the play, buried it into the back of the net.
"I think it was a 2-on-2 that started on our blue line," Miller said. "Somebody from their team, I think, went on a line change and I was just wide open. I saw the opportunity to jump into the play. Peter did a great job of going to the net and then the puck squirted right to me and I just chipped it in. We'll take offensive contributions from everybody right now."
Belfour has 16 saves but the Stars were uncharacteristically outmuscled. Foote delivered a crushing check that sent Modano fully into the Colorado bench area in the final minute of the first period.
"That was one of the more physical games I've played in," Modano said. "But you expect that this time of year."
It led to what could be viewed as a blowout between the rivals.
Four of the five meetings in the regular season were decided by one goal and the other was a tie.
"They have in Modano and (Joe) Nieuwendyk, some great skaters, and Brett Hull is always very dangerous," Hartley said. "We focus on those three guys up front and Adam Foote and company did an outstanding job on the blue line."