DALLAS – The Dallas Stars were determined not to let this one get away.
Derek Roy, Eric Nystrom and Jaromir Jagr each had a goal and an assist to lead the Stars to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.
In the teams’ last meeting on Wednesday night in Denver, Dallas gave up a 2-0 lead in the first a 3-2 advantage in the third en route to a 4-3 loss. This time, the Stars were able to put together a strong effort from start to finish.
“I think it was probably one of our most complete games that we’ve played,” said Dallas’ Cody Eakin, who also scored. “We’ve been trying to work on playing 60 minutes and there were times that they came on strong, but we stood with it.”
Rookie Jordie Benn got his first NHL goal and younger brother Jamie Benn had three assists to help the Stars win their second straight game following a 1-4-1 stretch in which they were outscored 23-10.
The Stars moved up from 10th place to eighth in the Western Conference, jumping ahead of San Jose and Columbus for the conference’s final playoff position.
Kari Lehtonen, making his 11th straight start, stopped 33 shots for Dallas two nights after getting 40 saves in a 2-0 win at Los Angeles.
“I thought we got some good goaltending again and we got some timely goals from our top players,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “I thought that Colorado played real hard but we got goals at the right time.”
Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist, and P.A. Parenteau also scored for the Avalanche, who lost their ninth straight game on the road (0-6-3).
“It’s tough to put a finger on it,” said Colorado’s Matt Duchene, who had an assist. “We approach them the same way that we approach a home game. I don’t know why we’re struggling so much on the road. It’s disappointing.”
Roy, who had just one assist in his previous seven contests, briefly left the ice after taking a slap shot off his left foot late in the first period, but returned for the second.
The Stars built a 4-0 second period lead, chasing starting goalie Semyon Varlamov, before Colorado pulled to 4-2. However, Dallas managed to lock down the victory in the third period this time.
“We talked about that before the game,” Roy said, “how they came back on us because we didn’t work hard enough and we didn’t focus enough in the second and third periods and tonight was a statement game. We put a whole 60 minutes together.”
Varlamov wound up with 11 saves on 15 shots in 24:37, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 15 of 16 shots in 35:23.
The Avalanche, who are last in the West after losing five of their last six games while getting outscored 28-15, were without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was a last-minute scratch with a torso injury.
Dallas jumped on top just 34 seconds into the opening period, as Roy got his fourth of the season after taking a nice backhand pass from Loui Eriksson and unleashing a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Varlamov over the glove.
“We’re getting scored on way too early and way too much right now,” Duchene said. “We’re playing catch-up all game long. We haven’t played with the lead in God knows how long and it’s frustrating, that’s for sure. We can’t afford to put ourselves behind the eight-ball every game.”
The Stars made it 2-0 on a power play when Jordie Benn, skating in his 26th career game, found the back of the net at 9:57, banging home the rebound of Roy’s slap shot from the right point.
“A dream come true,” Benn said of the goal. “You always think about scoring a goal in the NHL and it’s finally done, and hopefully, there’s many more to come.”
Colorado appeared to pull to within 2-1 with 3:08 remaining in the first when Duchene’s deflection of Parenteau’s wrist shot bounced past Lehtonen, but it was waved off when the officials determined that David Jones had interfered with Lehtonen on the play.
“The call on the non-goal is a missed goal,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. “(The referee) is trying to find something there that’s absolutely not there. The goaltender’s out of his crease. (Jones) is not in the paint there and he calls the goal back. It’s the wrong call.
Nystrom extended Dallas’ lead to 3-0 with his fourth goal of the season 58 seconds into the second period, and Eakin’s fifth goal at 4:37 of the second put the Stars up four.
That prompted Sacco to pull Varlamov in favour of Giguere.
Dallas nearly went up by five at 12:08 while on a power play when Jagr’s deflection of Jamie Benn’s shot bounced off Giguere’s pad and off the underside of the crossbar before landing in the crease.
Colorado snapped Lehtonen’s shutout streak at 102:35 when Parenteau connected on a one-timer from the left circle during a power play with 54.1 seconds left in the second.
Stastny made it 4-2 with his eighth goal just 1:37 into the final period, beating Lehtonen with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle.
However, the Stars restored their hold on the game when Jagr got his team-leading 13th goal of the season, and third in the last three games, at 6:44.
NOTES: After taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Stars have now outscored their opponents 7-0 over the last four games. The Avalanche have now been outscored 36-19 in first periods this season. … With the win, Dallas is 9-3-1 in its last 13 home meetings with the Avalanche. … The Stars honoured former D Craig Ludwig as part of its all-time team. Ludwig joined the organization in 1991, was part of the move from Minnesota to Dallas in 1993 and helped the club win the 1999 Stanley Cup.