The last time the Dallas Stars met the Colorado Avalanche, they squandered a two-goal lead in the third period before falling in a shootout. During Friday’s rematch, it was déjà vu all over again.
For 40 minutes, the Stars held the Avalanche to only seven shots; while accumulating 24 of their own. After a scoreless first period, the Stars opened the scoring early in the second when Cody Eakin tallied. The Avalanche would respond however, with defenseman Tyson Barrie unleashed a rocket from the point. The tie was short-lived, as Jason Spezza would score for the Stars just 30 seconds later.
“The first two periods were not acceptable,” said Avalanche defenseman Nate Guenin, who had a career-high three points. “In between periods we had a little talk.”
The heart-to-heart in the locker room appeared to be for naught; as the Stars would increase their lead to two when Eakin netted his second of the contest just three minutes into the final frame. Not to be deterred by a two-goal deficit, the Avalanche would finally wake up and begin to climb out of the hole that they had dug themselves.
The Avalanche would surge back with two goals in short succession, as Jarome Iginla and Guenin would tally. Suddenly, the game was again tied; though the tie would be short-lived.
A defensive lapse by the Avalanche would again give the Stars the lead. Antoine Roussel would get behind the defense, coming in on a breakaway. Although he originally appeared to make the save, the puck would trickle through goaltender Semyon Varlamov and into the back of the net.
The Avalanche would continue to fight however; and it would pay dividends but two minutes later. Gabriel Landeskog would deflect a shot by Barrie into the net. On the back of a strong third period, the game would head into overtime.
“That’s one thing with our team, we don’t quit,” said Guenin.
Overtime would solve nothing. Just as it had the last time the two teams met, the game would be decided by a shootout. Ryan O’Reilly would score his first shootout goal in four attempts this season, and it would prove to be enough. After a shaky regulation, Varlamov would was perfect in the deciding skills competition; pitching a shutout in the shootout to secure the victory.
With the win, the Avalanche sweep the season series against the Stars; also leapfrogging them in the standings. Through 62 games, the Avs have 65 points sitting six points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Avalanche will face the Wild Saturday night.