Stars 3, Avalanche 2
The home-ice magic continues for Mike Modano, Alex Auld and the Stars.
Modano scored twice, including the game-winner in the third period, Auld stopped 24 shots, and the Stars hung on for a 3-2 decision over Colorado on Friday night, ending a four-game skid against the Avalanche.
The Stars have their fifth two-game winning streak of this inconsistent season. They're still seeking their first three-game run.
Continue to play like they did on Friday night, and that will happen. Dallas has won five straight at home, eight of its last nine in Texas, and is 13-2-2 in its last 17 games at the AAC.
The Stars have needed to make hay at home to compensate for a 1-9-2 run on the road.
Dallas has two more dates at the AAC during this four-game homestand: Sunday afternoon against Dave Tippett and the Phoenix Coyotes, and Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.
Modano's persistence paid off in a game that was tied at 2 when he fired a loose puck past Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson from the slot at 7:01 of the final period.
and Toby Petersen
assisted on Modano's second goal of the night and sixth in his last eight games.
The two goals gave Modano 555 for his career, extending his record for U.S.-born players. He has 1,351 career points, moving him past Mats Sundin and into sole possession of 25th in league history. Modano's last two-goal game was Dec. 3, 2008 at Edmonton.
"He's playing just terrific hockey for us right now,'' Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "He's got some real chemistry going with Toby Petersen
, we saw that over the last month. Mo is just such an experienced player that when he has a feel for people, he does have terrific vision. You combine terrific vision with some energy and a player that has that kind of skill, you're going to have good things happen. Not only did he get the winning goal for us, but I thought he was a real force on the bench. He's been through these types of battles and he was a calming influence for us on the bench as well. We'll continue to try and get as much out of him as we can in games.''
Modano's 91st game-winner tied him for 13th all-time with none other than Wayne Gretzky.
Modano said his almost 40-year-old legs feel fresh because he's been given several practices off by Crawford.
The results have been obvious.
"I've been feeling much better lately,'' Modano said. "I think it's just a combination of some valuable time off that Marc has given me, and just being able to rest up, and primarily focus on the games. Mentally and physically, I've been feeling better lately and it's just a good routine that we've got going on here, right here and right now, and we seem to be playing well in the areas that we've been trying to improve on.
"Time away is good for the brain, for me, at this age. I think I've come back a little refreshed after those days off."
Dallas improved to 59 points, still out of the top eight in the Western Conference but closing fast on one of the final playoff berths.
"We want to put a run together and get in a playoff spot, and we did a real good job tonight,'' Stars left winger James Neal
said. "These points right now are going to mean a lot in the end.''
The Stars carried a 2-1 lead into the second period. That was a victory in itself after they were outscored in the first period of the initial two meetings with the Avs by a total of 3-0. Dallas was outscored by Colorado in those two games by 8-1.
Stars rookie Jamie Benn
got the scoring underway at 3:18 of the first period when he re-directed Steve Ott
's pass by red-hot Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson.
Matt Duchene answered for the Avs 36 seconds later, but Modano put the Stars in front at 7:55 when he banked a centering pass off Colorado defenseman Kyle Cumiskey.
Pumping two past Anderson in the first period was an accomplishment. Anderson had registered two shutouts in his previous four starts, including Sunday night's 4-0 blanking of the Stars in Denver. He'd allowed one goal or less in each of his last five starts.
Dallas couldn't hold the lead, however, as T.J. Galiardi struck from the slot at 10:56 of the second period to draw Colorado even at 2.
Captain Brenden Morrow
had a chance to give the Stars a 3-2 edge about 3:30 into the third period, but his shot from the left circle clanged off the crossbar.
After Modano sent Dallas in front, Auld stood tall in his fifth start in his last seven games, denying all 11 shots he faced in the third period.
He's won his last six home starts with a 91.4 save percentage and 2.26 goals-against during that span.
Crawford said he'll stay with the hot hand and stick with Auld for Sunday's game against the Coyotes.
"He's making the big stops and giving us a chance to win every night, and that's what we need,'' Dallas forward Brian Sutherby
said. "We're going out there and banging and crashing, and putting pucks on net, and getting a couple to go in. It's a good feeling in here, and we've got to keep it going."
-- RW Jere Lehtinen sat out his sixth straight game with a neck injury. Lehtinen should return on Sunday.
-- F Steve Ott
has seven points in his last nine games.
-- D Mark Fistric
avoided a league suspension and was in the lineup despite the match penalty he received in Wednesday night's win over Calgary. Fistric was fined $2,500 for bopping Flames winger Eric Nystrom in the head with Nystrom's helmet during a scrap in the first period. Fistric had never been disciplined before and said he meant no harm to Nystrom.
-- Attendance was a sellout of 18,532.
-- F Jamie Benn
has two goals and four points in his last four games.
|Three star selections