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Stars Squander 3-0 Lead, Succumb To Avalanche In Game 1

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The Dallas Stars extended their streak of Game 1 losses to six consecutive games after a 4-3 overtime defeat against the visiting Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference semifinals.

Despite jumping to a commanding 3-0 lead in the first period with goals from Ryan Suter, Wyatt Johnston, and Jamie Benn, the Stars faltered and failed to score for the remainder of the game, allowing the Avalanche to mount a stunning comeback with four unanswered goals, including the game-winner from Miles Wood nearly nine minutes into overtime.

“We had that game under control, and we let it slip away. But we’ve seen that in the regular season against them,” Stars forward Matt Duchene told reporters. “We had two games like that, so we have bounce back here and split the homestand here.”

The Avalanche’s resurgence was fueled by their ability to capitalize on power-play opportunities, with Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar narrowing the lead to 3-1 and 3-2, respectively, in the second period. Nathan MacKinnon, named a finalist for the Hart Trophy, leveled the score less than a minute into the third period.

In overtime, despite moments of struggle, the Avalanche seized the opportunity, with Wood securing the winning goal on a breakaway against Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger.

For the Stars, grappling with adjustments following a Game 1 loss has become a recurring challenge. Their last Game 1 victory occurred in 2020 during the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a series they ultimately lost in six games.

Since then, the Stars have faced a string of Game 1 losses, including defeats to the Calgary Flames in 2022, the Minnesota Wild and the Seattle Kraken in 2021, and the Vegas Golden Knights in both the 2021 and 2022 playoffs. Despite these setbacks, the Stars managed to overcome the odds in previous seasons, notably eliminating the defending champions, the Golden Knights, in the first round of the 2022 playoffs.

However, the streak continues with the Stars’ loss to the Avalanche, highlighting the team’s ongoing quest to reverse their fortunes in Game 1 matchups.

“I think you learn about each other as a series goes on, and what we know about that team is what happened tonight,” Stars coach Peter DeBoer said. “I think we had the lead. … They’re a quick-strike team. You can’t make mistakes in those situations. It’s a tough lesson to learn in Game 1, but glad you’re not learning it in Game 6 or 7 in an elimination game.”

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