Stars of Game 1: Avalanche!

Apr 24, 2006 2:54 AM

Hey Melrose, you still like Dallas?

Well, at least after one game, ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose looks pretty silly picking the Stars to win the Stanley Cup when they couldn’t even win their first round opener against the Avalanche. At home, no less.

The Avs not only have backers all over Colorado, but on satellite radio. A poll of 4,224 listeners who answered, chose the Avs to defeat Dallas in the best 4-of-7 series by a whopping 83 to 17 percentage. Colorado is a quarter of the way there, thanks in part to the huge late-season gamble of exchanging starting goaltenders with Montreal.

Ironically both Jose Theodore and David Aebischer were the only visiting goalies to win on the road in the eight first-round openers. Theodore enjoyed a relatively easy night after falling behind 2-0 in the first period and wound up facing just 18 shots.

Colorado is the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and went off as a +150 underdog. The Avs now have a 2-3 record against the second-seeded Stars in the last five matchups.

It seems any playoff success Colorado has, which has been plenty over the years, centers around captain Joe Sakic. So, no surprise that Sakic picked up two assists in beginning his 12th season in the playoffs.

Game 2 in the series was played Monday night, setting up two games this week at the Pepsi Center. The Stars are one of the NHL’s top road teams, compiling a 25-12 record. The Avs were solid at home, posting a 25-10 mark.

While it is early, it’s not unrealistic to feel good about the Avs’ chances for an upset. Colorado beat Dallas in five games two years ago when the two last met in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And, maybe if word is spread about that the 40-1 odds the Plaza Sports Book in Las Vegas posted on Colorado going all the way, it will provide more incentive.

All we can say is keep the negative press going. We’re enjoying our collections at the pay window so far.