The Dallas Stars ended their three-game road trip against Central Division opponents the same way they started it – with a loss. The Colorado Avalanche blew the game open with a four-goal second period and went on to defeat the Stars, 6-2, at Pepsi Center Monday night.
“It was pretty much us laying an egg,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “They came out strong and jumped all over us.”
The Stars scored late in the first period to tie the game at 1-1, but Colorado scored four goals over the final eleven-and-a-half minutes of the second period to take a 5-1 lead.
“As a team we got away from our game. The excitement of the goal wore off pretty quick there in the second period,” said Stars defenseman Kevin Connauton. “We handed them some easy chances. They’ve got so much skill that if you hand them chances like that, they are going to bury them.”
The Avalanche put a season-high 48 shots on goal and matched their season –high with six goals. Paul Stastny led the way with four points (two goals, two assists).
“Our guys wanted it. They showed great urgency around their net,” said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. “They wanted to put the puck behind their goalie, in the back of the net. I think it is certainly going to help our confidence.”
The loss was the third in the last four games for the Stars, who have now won just four times over their last 12 games (4-5-3). The Stars (15-12-5) fell ten points behind Colorado (22-9-1), whom they play again Tuesday night in Dallas in a home-and-home series.
“We’ve got another game to redeem ourselves,” said Benn. “It’s another two big points on the line in our own building. We can’t give up those points.”
“It’s the same [injury] that he suffered in practice about ten days ago,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “It looks like he is going to be out.”
The Avalanche outshot the Stars 21-10 in the first period and took a 1-0 lead at the midway point. Matt Duchene dropped the puck to Nathan MacKinnon off the rush and MacKinnon roofed a shot over Lehtonen from the left circle with 9:22 left in the first.
The Avalanche went on a 1:22 five-on-three power play late in the period, but Lehtonen had several big saves as the Stars killed it off. After a Duchene penalty the two teams played four-on-four and the Stars scored with 33 seconds left in the period to tie the game at 1-1. Seguin got the puck along the left boards, skated to the blue line, drove to the right circle and sent a cross-ice pass to a pinching Connauton, who put the puck into the open side of the net for his first NHL goal.
The Stars had two power plays early in the second – their third and fourth of the game – but couldn’t take the lead and the Avalanche would then score four times to take control of the game.
Colorado grabbed the lead with 11:31 left in the period when Max Talbot put a puck on net from the right boards and Paul Stastny tapped it into the open side of the net to make it a 2-1 game.
The Avalanche made it a 3-1 game a little more than five minutes later when defenseman Andre Benoit got to a loose puck in the slot and scored off a wrist shot with 6:18 left in the period.
Colorado struck again less than three minutes later when Gabriel Landeskog fired a shot on net from the point and Stastny tipped it past Lehtonen to make it a 4-1 game with 3:28 left in the second.
The Avs weren’t finished in the period, scoring with one second remaining to make it a 5-1 game on an Erik Johnson shot from the right point.
“Every goal was the result of us turning the puck over or just bad coverage,” Ruff said.
Seguin scored with 16:34 left in the third, tipping in a Valeri Nichushkin pass to cut the Colorado lead to 5-2.
The Stars killed off both ends of a 47 second five-on-three power play, but just after the second power play expired Tyson Barrie scored from the slot 4:44 remaining to round out the scoring in the game, making it a 6-2 final.
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