Stars smother Avalanche to win opening game

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Alexander Radulov scored two goals as the Dallas Stars continued to ride the momentum of a historic comeback, beating the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 in the opening game of their NHL playoff series Saturday.

The Stars were coming off a electrifying rally in the final game of their previous series, by spotting the Calgary Flames three goals then scoring seven straight to win 7-3 and advance to the Western Conference semi-finals against Colorado.

On Saturday, the Stars got an early lead and held on as Tyler Sequin, Blake Comeau and Roope Hintz scored singles and goaltender Anton Khudobin made 28 saves.

Climbing out of deficits is nothing new this season for the Stars, who won eight regular-season games in which they trailed by at least two goals. They also fell behind the Flames in the series 2-1.

Their comeback from three goals down against Calgary on Thursday was also the biggest for the franchise since the 1985 postseason.

Radulov added an assist, while captain Jamie Benn had three assists for Dallas, who finished 2-0-2 against Colorado during the regular season.

Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, and Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and an assist in what may have been a costly defeat for Colorado.

Starting goalie Philipp Grubauer left the contest with an injury 3:06 into the second period.

After lunging to the right, Grubauer, of Germany, slumped to the ice and remained face down for several minutes while the team trainer attended to him. He was favouring his left leg while being helped off the ice.

Backup Pavel Francouz stopped 18 of the 20 shots.

Both teams are in the conference semi-finals for the second straight season. Each was eliminated in seven games last year — Colorado by the San Jose Sharks and Dallas by the eventual Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis Blues, who were eliminated from this postseason on Friday by the Vancouver Canucks.

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