Heading into their matchup against Dallas, the Avalanche were looking at a streak of three losses, while on the opposite side of the spectrum the Stars were looking at a cozy four game win streak. Both those streaks were snapped as the Avalanche took care of Dallas Tuesday night, bringing in the win.
The game started out slow up until Jamie Benn scored the first goal of the night. After losing his defender Benn was able to find some space and snap the puck in past Varlamov, who just so happened to be screened by his own teammate, and gave the Stars a 1-0 lead.
One note of concern through the first period was that Stephen Johns left the game at the 7:51 mark after a collision with Matt Duchene suffering an upper body injury, more than likely his head, as he seemed to strike the glass awkwardly (Keep a look out for updates on that injury as Johns would not return).
After penalties on both sides occurred, the players saw a little bit more room on the ice as the 4 on 4 ensued. Unfortunately for the Stars, the 4 on 4 saw Matt Nieto scoring off a rebound to even up the game at one a piece.
Late in the first period at the 4:43 mark Tyler Pitlick took a high stick and thus gave the Stars the four min. power play. But the offense couldn’t produce much if any offense from the chance, and the Avs were able to kill the penalty, staying put at one each to end the first period.
Now the second period was interesting to say the least. Ben Bishop was being Ben Bishop and went behind the net to get the puck to the forwards, but was caught behind the net by two Colorado defenders. Bishop lost possession behind the net, was able to scramble back into the net where he beat Carl Soderberg’s shot but was eventually beaten by Matt Nieto off the rebound. The Stars trailed 2-1 for only about a minute as Dallas tore the defense and Tyler Seguin found Brett Ritchie all alone along the crease, and Ritchie was able to put one in, evening the score up at 2.
The second period continued as Gabriel Landeskog would give the Avalanche the lead back at the 15:56 mark. Shortly after Ben Bishop headed off into the locker room and Kari Lehtonen took over the duties between the pipes for the Stars. After much confusion we would later find out that it was a coach’s change and not an injury situation. So we can all breath a sigh of relief there as Bishop was just having a rough night in the net.
Midway through the second a delayed penalty on Ritchie occurred for holding yet the defense stood tall and killed the extra man and then the penalty. All looked calm as the Stars were trailing the Avalanche 3-2 and they were looking to head into intermission down just a goal. As time was expiring (10 seconds left) Tyson Barrie shot the puck out wide and it landed right to Mark Barberio who canned it in past Lehtonen from the top of the circle, heading into the second intermission with an extended lead at 4-2.
The Stars needed to go into the third controlling the puck, firing away quality shots and simply getting the offensive steamroller moving. And just that ensued as Dallas was able to control the first parts of the period, but unfortunately for the Stars yet again those chances would go for naught as goalie play from Semyon Varlamov would kill any chance they had of victory. With the two-goal lead the game looked over up until Jamie Benn sparked life in the team as he found an opening in the middle and fired a cannon blast that ticked off John Klingberg’s stick, finding its way into the net.
Yet as Varlamov saved shot after shot, the opposition’s goalie play proved to be vital in the loss... again. And as the final seconds wound down and Lehtonen was off the ice for the extra man, Matt Nieto split the defense and gave Dallas the final blow. The hats went flying for Nieto as he notched the hat trick, and as for me being at the game, I found myself cursing under my breath as the Stars dropped yet another down in Colorado.
After Colorado’s 5-3 victory over the Stars Tuesday night, the series is now tied at 1 and the Stars will play the Avalanche three more times, but unfortunately only once more at home.