After an exciting win at home against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night, the Dallas Stars are on the road once again. In what was only their fourth game total and their first road test against a Central Division rival so far this season, the Stars took on one of the best lines in the NHL in Colorado.
Devin Shore had returned on Friday night and had an immediate impact, registering two assists. Miro Heiskanen also had a top performance, scoring two goals of his own for his first multi-goal game of his NHL career. Not to be outdone, the rest of the Dallas blue line got in on the action, with Taylor Fedun scoring his first as a Star and Gavin Bayreuther registering his first NHL goal. Even though the Stars are missing John Klingberg, it seems as if the rookie blueliners and call-ups are finding their feet and holding their own until his eventual return.
In what was a homecoming for Jim Montgomery and a clash against his old team for Blake Comeau, this game was largely decided with special teams and how each team reacted after those shifts were played out. In the end, the difference was two goals in 46 seconds that sealed the fate of the Dallas Stars against the Colorado Avalanche.
One of the important things that Montgomery mentioned when playing the Avalanche was their speed and keeping up with them at the higher altitude. Even though both teams were coming off a back-to-back, the fast pace set from the get-go was exactly as he’d described, full of one-on-one battles for the puck and racing from end to end. Dallas also faced their first two tests against Colorado’s top-ranked power play and they were up to the challenge, going 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Just over seven minutes into the period, a penalty for too many men against the Stars put them on the kill early, but after 12 seconds Jason Dickson was tripped up by Gabriel Landeksog and made it into a 4-on-4. Almost directly after, Dallas went on the penalty kill once more, with Dickson again playing an impressive part as he and his unit led the play.
It ended scoreless, but it was a fairly even period between the Stars and the Avalanche. Colorado led the way in the face-off circle at 67%, but Dallas held their own in blocked shots and hits with seven a piece. Anton Khudobin was also impressive, as he earned his first back-to-back as a Dallas Star and held down the fort.
Score: DAL 0, COL 0
Shots: DAL 6, COL 6
After a scoreless opening frame, the fast pace continued with Mattias Janmark creating a wraparound chance. Janmark and Dickinson then stormed the net with their rebound just under a minute into the period. Dallas once again faced Colorado’s formidable power play but held their own, with Khudobin making key saves to keep it 0-0 for the time being.
With less than seven minutes left in the period, the tides turned as the Avalanche’s top line took charge. The three-headed monster of Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen connected on a tic-tac-toe goal to put Colorado up 1-0.
Not long after, another costly penalty put the Stars on the penalty kill for the second time in the second period. Following some sloppy defensive decisions, Dallas pulled together and found their feet, with Comeau and Dickson creating a dangerous 2-on-1 shorthanded chance that Semyon Varlamov gobbled up. In a trade-off, Dallas then immediately went to the power play, as they put in some solid chances towards the end of the period, but couldn’t get anything on frame.
Score: DAL 0, COL 1
Shots: DAL 8, COL 12
The third period started with dangerous and terrific chances on both sides. Comeau had a particularly accurate chance that just barely missed on his season-high and team-leader fifth shot of the night. Khudobin stood tall against quite a few shots from Colorado’s top line and kept Dallas in the game.
At three minutes into the final frame, the pace picked up significantly. The Stars then took control for a huge shift, with Pitlick almost able to tap in a trickling puck behind Varlamov, but Landeskog batted it away.
From there it was a back-and-forth between the ends, both Dallas and Colorado cycling and doing their best to generate chances. Montgomery then put the Stars in a line blender and it paid off. Radek Faksa, who was out with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, created some chaos in front of Colorado’s net and snapped a shot in to tie it up 1-1 with 8:28 left in the third.
And the pace just kept coming, with the Stars’ big three reuniting to cash in and put the team in the lead. At 15 minutes into the period, Radulov passed to Seguin, who had the initial chance and then Jamie Benn shoved it in to make it 2-1 in favor of the Stars.
Mass chaos then ensued, with Khudobin creating some wicked stops, but it wasn’t enough. The Stars couldn’t get control in their own zone and J.T. Compher took advantage as he evened up the score 2-2 with an unassisted wrist shot. And the goals just kept on coming, as Rantanen and the Colorado top line overwhelmed the Dallas defense and scored to make it 3-2 with just under two minutes left to play.
With 1:29 left, Montgomery pulled Khudobin for the extra attacker, but the Stars couldn’t connect to even up the score and push it to overtime.
Final Score: DAL 2, COL 3
Final Shots: DAL 28, COL 36
The Stars move on to Edmonton where they will face the Oilers on Tuesday, November 27 at 8 p.m. CDT.