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NHL: Stars hold off Avalanche, Islanders edge Flyers

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Czech forward Radek Faksa (centre) of the Dallas Stars scores during the first period. AFP

NHL: Stars hold off Avalanche, Islanders edge Flyers

Radek Faksa finished with a goal and two assists and Anton Khudobin stopped 33 shots as the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in game four of their second-round NHL playoff series.

Dallas dominated the opening period, scoring three goals. They then traded goals with the Avalanche in a four-goal third period but managed to hold on to win their sixth game in their last seven.

It was almost reminiscent of game three when Colorado squandered a 3-1 lead but rallied to win 6-4.

“It just seems like when one team gets one goal it kind of gives them a boost,” Stars Jamie Benn said. “I’m not sure why it’s going back and forth like this, but it is. And you’ve just got to handle the momentum as it comes.”

John Klingberg and Roope Hintz, of Finland, each added a goal and an assist and Denis Gurianov and Benn also scored for Dallas who seized a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference series.

The Stars can clinch a spot in the NHL final four with a win in game five on Monday at Rogers Place arena in Edmonton, Alberta.

The two teams have had a three-day break thanks to the postponement of games on Thursday and Friday to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

If a game six is necessary, it’s scheduled for Wednesday night meaning they would play a stretch of three games in four nights.

Valeri Nichushkin scored two goals, Cale Makar had a goal and an assist and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored a goal for Colorado.

Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon also had an assist, extending his franchise record to 12 straight playoff games with a point.

Canadian forward MacKinnon, who broke the previous mark of 10 games held by Joe Sakic (1996) and Marian Stastny (1982), has scored seven goals to go with 14 assists in the playoffs.

Canucks in a hole

Pavel Francouz had 21 saves before being pulled with 11:58 remaining in the third period. Michael Hutchinson had three saves in his NHL playoff debut.

Dallas dominated the first period while building a 3-0 lead, holding the Avalanche without a shot for the first 18:26.

In the Eastern Conference, Brock Nelson scored twice as the New York Islanders put the Philadelphia Flyers on the brink of elimination with a 3-2 win in their second-round series.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored in the third period to break the tie for the Islanders, who seized a 3-1 lead.

New York will attempt to close it on Tuesday and advance to the NHL semi-finals for first time since 1993.

In the late game, Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist and Marc-Andre Fleury made several key saves in the final period as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 to take a 3-1 series lead.

Nate Schmidt had a goal and an assist and Shea Theodore tallied two assists as the Knights used a five-man attack, getting six points from their defencemen. Fleury finished with 28 saves.

Swede Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and Tyler Toffoli scored for Vancouver, who will try to climb out of a deep hole with a win in game five on Tuesday.

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