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Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Up For Challenge, Beat Stars 5-2 to Move Into Second in Central



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After a tough month against playoff-caliber teams, the Colorado Avalanche needed to show they were up for the challenge against the Dallas Stars.

Mission accomplished.

Led by their two stars up front, the Avalanche took advantage of the tired legs of the Stars as the game went on, wearing the road team down on their way to a 5-2 win. Some timely goals, strong defense, and great goaltending were key in the victory, as well as a smart challenge by the coaching staff in the third period. Mikko Rantanen picked up four points to tie his career high with 92, and Nathan MacKinnon added two goals.

With the win, the Avalanche jump ahead of the Stars in the Central Division by virtue of points percentage. Seeding might come down to the head-to-head battle between the two teams, as the Avalanche took three of the four matchups this season.

First Period

Having played just the night before, it was a little surprising that the Stars were the team to come out with more energy. Luckily for the Avalanche, Alexandar Georgiev was on his game in the opening period.

His strong play allowed the Avalanche to get on the board first. After a Jamie Benn turnover, Nathan MacKinnon made the smart play, dumping it into the corner to fight another day. Rantanen beat Hakanpaa for the puck in the corner, and then sent a crazy pass to MacKinnon in the slot, who was wide open. He ripped a one-timer past Oettinger, giving the Avalanche the 1-0 lead.

After the goal, Georgiev stood tall. He made multiple big saves, including a toe save on Johnston in front, ensuring the Avalanche went into the first intermission with the lead.

Second Period

The Avalanche came out with more jump in the second period, and what they got was some much needed depth scoring.

A nice move by Andrew Cogliano off a bad pass in the neutral zone by the Stars led to a one-on-one situation for Logan O’Connor. He made a nice move back to his forehand and let a quick, low shot go, which seemed to catch Oettinger off guard. It went right through his legs, giving the Avalanche the two goal lead.

If there was one issue with the Avalanche in the second period, it was penalties. J.T. Compher took two penalties, one of which was kind of flukey, as he played a puck with a broken stick. On the ensuing powerplay, the Stars were able to solve Georgiev. A pass from Robertson found it’s way through the mess in front, and went to Seguin on the back door, who had snuck away from Matt Nieto. He beat Georgiev up high, and the Avalanche lead was down 2-1.

Late in the period, the Avalanche got a fortuitous bounce. A nice face-off win by Compher led to Rantanen hitting MacKinnon at the point. His shot went off the Stars defender, changing directions and beating Oettinger with just 12 seconds left. That goal allowed the Avalanche to head into the third period with a two goal lead.

Third Period

The Avalanche played a really strong third period. Nathan MacKinnon set the tone on the first shift, with a great defensive play, then a rush up the ice to set up a chance.

The Stars looked like they had cut the lead to one halfway through the period, but Jared Bednar challenged for goaltender interference. After a relatively quick review, it was determined that Ryan Suter pushed O’Connor into Georgiev, and didn’t allow the goaltender to make the save. The goal was taken off the board in a huge moment in the game.

After the challenge, the Avalanche spent a lot of time in the Stars end killing time. Nichushkin added an empty netter to make it 4-1, and then Pavelski, as is tradition, scored with the net empty to make it 4-2. That set the stage for a little bit of excitement.

With the two goal lead, Georgiev decided to take a shot at the empty net himself. It…did not go well. But moments after, Rantanen decided to show him how it’s done, sending a shot 140+ feet off the crossbar and in for his 49th goal of the year. That gave the Avalanche the 5-2 lead, and that’s how the game would end.

With the win, the Avalanche move back into second place in the division with a game in hand. They now head to San Jose for two games, with a big opportunity to pick up more points. The game on Tuesday starts at 8:30 PM MST.

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