Stars undecided on goalie for Game 6 against Avalanche

Stars undecided on goalie for Game 6 against Avalanche


Dallas Stars coach Rick Bowness said he has not decided whether Ben Bishop or Anton Khudobin will start in goal against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The Stars lead the best-of-7 series after a 6-3 loss in Game 5 in Edmonton, the Western hub city, on Monday, when Bishop started and Khudobin relieved him.

“We’ll have discussions as a staff, we’ll see who is the best fit for that game tomorrow night,” Bowness said Tuesday. “It’ll come down to that. Our preference is never to play a goalie back to back unless you absolutely have to. We have the day off today, and we’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.”

Bishop had missed eight games with an undisclosed injury prior to Monday, when he allowed four goals on 19 shots before being pulled at 13:43 of the first period. Khudobin made 20 saves.

Video: Avalanche win Game 5 behind five-goal 1st period

Khudobin started those previous eight games, including a 5-4 win in Game 4 on Sunday. He is 7-4-0 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in the postseason.

Bishop is 1-2-0 with a 5.43 GAA and .844 save percentage.

Bowness said Bishop approached him prior to Game 5 and said he was ready to start.

“When your No. 1 goalie comes to you and says, ‘I really feel good, I’m ready to go,’ that makes it an easy decision,” Bowness said.

But Bowness wouldn’t say if it would again be an easy decision to start Bishop if the goalie says he feels good and is ready to go for Game 6.

“That’ll be a discussion for tomorrow,” Bowness said.

Bowness also repeated what he said following the game Monday, taking the blame for the Stars’ first period away from Bishop and pinning it on the play in front of him.

Dallas trailed 5-0 after the first period. It allowed four goals in 2:36.

“If we had played that poorly in front of Anton the result probably would have been the same,” Bowness said. “We’re pointing the finger at the wrong thing. We’ve got to point the finger at the five guys in front not working. That’s where my issue is. The starting goalie is not the issue. The issue is how we play in front of him, be it [Khudobin], Jake [Oettinger] or [Bishop].”

Bowness said the coaching staff has thought about giving Oettinger a start because of the condensed schedule.

“But he hasn’t played a second of NHL hockey,” Bowness said of the 21-year-old, who was selected by Dallas in the first round (No. 26) of the 2017 NHL Draft. “These are interesting conversations we have to have based on information we have.”

Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera said the starting goalie is not something the rest of the team worries about.

“I don’t think it makes any difference who is in the net to be honest,” Sekera said. “We have to play our A-game no matter who is in the net. Playoff hockey, you’re going to have ups and downs in the postseason. Everybody goes through that. Fortunately, everything was going well for us, but there are going to be bumps in the road. Forget about it, regroup and go get the next one.”

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