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Wyatt Johnston scores twice as Stars push Avs to brink of elimination with 5-1 win in Game 4



Wyatt Johnston scores twice as Stars push Avs to brink of elimination with 5-1 win in Game 4
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DENVER (AP) — Wyatt Johnston scored twice on the eve of his twenty first birthday because the Dallas Stars pushed Colorado to the brink of elimination Monday night time with a 5-1 win in Recreation 4 that got here hours after Avalanche standout Valeri Nichushkin was suspended for not less than six months.

Johnston had short-handed and power-play goals for the Stars, who grabbed a 3-1 lead within the second-round, best-of-seven collection. Dallas can shut it out at residence in Recreation 5 on Wednesday.

“He (Johnston) got here out possessed tonight,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer stated. “He was everywhere in the rink. Simply unbelievable, unbelievable younger hockey participant that’s going to be a cornerstone.”

Miro Heiskanen and Evgenii Dadonov additionally scored, whereas Sam Metal added a late empty-net purpose. Jake Oettinger made 24 saves.

About an hour earlier than the sport, the Nationwide Hockey League and Nationwide Hockey League Gamers’ Affiliation introduced that Nichushkin was suspended for not less than six months with out pay. He was positioned in stage 3 of the league’s participant help program. It’s the second time this season Nichushkin has been in this system.

“We’re not going to make use of that as an excuse. We will’t and we gained’t,” stated Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, who came upon after the morning skate and informed his gamers after they returned to the rink earlier than the sport. “You need to be mentally robust.”

A Colorado lineup lacking Nichushkin, the group’s main purpose scorer (9) on this playoff run, struggled early to get on monitor and was outshot by a 16-2 margin within the first interval. Casey Mittelstadt scored Colorado’s lone purpose within the second.

“We regarded frozen within the first interval,” Bednar stated. “We weren’t transferring, we’re not skating. Appeared like we had been exhausted, and we needs to be the rested group.”

The Avalanche additionally had been with out standout defenseman Devon Toews, who was a late scratch on account of an sickness. Colorado’s protection couldn’t forestall Johnston and the Stars from constructing a 3-0 lead within the second interval. Dallas has but to path in regulation throughout the collection.

“We’ve performed numerous good hockey and put ourselves in some good positions,” Stars ahead Joe Pavelski stated. “It’s only a dedication to doing it the proper approach. That’s primary for us.”

Johnston, who turns 21 on Tuesday, scored his tenth and eleventh profession playoff targets. He turned the eighth participant in NHL historical past to achieve double-digit postseason targets at age 20 or youthful, in line with league analysis.

He was offered a candy-bar cake with a candle after the sport.

“It’s been a loopy, loopy couple of years,” Johnston stated. “I’m simply actually grateful and simply so pleased to have met some superb individuals on the best way and simply have an opportunity to be with the Stars.”

The Stars noticed ahead Roope Hintz depart the sport after struggling an upper-body damage within the opening interval.

Alexandar Georgiev was saved busy all night time, stopping 29 photographs.

Avalanche ahead Jonathan Drouin performed in his first postseason sport this season, stepping in to fill the void of Nichushkin. Drouin has been sidelined since he suffered a lower-body damage within the regular-season finale.

Caleb Jones was inserted into the lineup with Toews out and was whistled for 2 penalties.

The Avalanche dropped each residence video games to Dallas on this collection. Colorado posted the NHL’s greatest residence report (31-9-1) within the common season.

It’s desperation time.

“We’ve received nothing to lose,” Avalanche ahead Andrew Cogliano stated. “You lay it on the road and see the place the chips fall. … You need no regrets.”

Johnston took benefit of a Cale Makar turnover late within the first interval and scored a shorthanded purpose to provide the Stars a 1-0 lead. It’s the second shorthanded purpose of the collection for Dallas.

The Stars have outscored the Avalanche 6-0 within the opening interval.

Colorado’s frustration was on show after the first-period buzzer, with Colorado defenseman Josh Manson taking exception to Jamie Benn working into Georgiev. Manson pounced on Benn and each had been hit with penalties — Manson for roughing and Benn for goaltender interference. Benn delivered a giant hit on Toews in Recreation 2.

Now, it’s again residence to probably finish Colorado’s season.

“They’re not going to go down quietly,” DeBoer stated. “We’re going to anticipate that the subsequent sport goes to be the hardest to win.’’