Saturday, March 23, 2013
Dallas Stars 5, Colorado Avalanche 2
Stars begin crucial homestand with lopsided win.
DALLAS The Dallas Stars opened their crucial five-game homestand with a blowout victory Saturday night at the American Airlines Center, defeating the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 for their second straight win. The victory improved Dallas to 15-13-3, allowing them to slide back into the top eight in the Western Conference. Colorado fell to 11-15-4, worst in the conference.
Dallas got some measure of revenge for an embarrassing 4-3 loss last week to the Avs, in which the Stars blew a two-goal lead and lost in regulation. This time, Dallas struck first and struck hard, and didn't relent until the game was all but over.
The Stars opened the scoring just 34 seconds in when Derek Roy took the puck in his own zone, skated up, passed to Loui Eriksson and then got it back. Roy then wristed a seemingly harmless looking shot that eluded Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov for his fourth of the year and an early 1-0 lead.
Dallas doubled their lead at the midpoint of the first period when the Stars were on the powerplay. Alex Goligoski dished off a quick pass to Roy, whose shot rebounded right to a pinching Jordie Benn. Benn backhanded it into a gaping net for his first NHL goal and a 2-0 lead.
The Avs appeared to cut it to 2-1 with three minutes remaining, but the goal was disallowed for goaltender interference.
Unlike the previous game against Colorado, Dallas didn't let up in the second period. Eric Nystrom extended the lead to 3-0 in the first minute of the middle frame when he collected a rebound from a Jamie Benn spin-o-rama shot from close range, and pounded it in to make it 3-0.
Three and a half minutes later the game turned into a rout when benn streaked in and skated around the net but lost the puck at the top of the crease. With no Avalanche defenders in the area, Cody Eakin had a clear shot and rifled it in for his fifth of the season and a 4-0 lead.
The Stars started to get sloppy at that point, allowing a late powerplay goal to P.A. Parenteau with a minute left in the second, and Paul Stasny to score from distance a minute and a half into the third to make it 4-2.
Any hope of a collapse were put to rest at 6:44 of the final period, however, when Jaromir Jagr scored his second goal in as many games on a close-range wraparound to make it 5-2. It was Jagr's team-leading 13th goal of the season, and Jamie Benn's third assist on the night.
Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen had a good night outside of that three-minute span over the second and third periods, stopping 33 of 35 shots to improve to 12-7-2. Varlamov was not as fortunate, making just 11 saves on 15 shots before he was replaced by old Stars nemesis J.S. Giguere, who stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced in mop-up work.
Dallas' next game is Monday night against the streaking 18-10-2 Minnesota Wild, who shut out the San Jose Sharks earlier in the afternoon to allow Dallas to creep into 8th.