Stars fall in Denver for first loss of season
DENVER (AP) — Joe Colborne had three goals for his first NHL hat trick, Colorado withstood a 6-on-4 opportunity over final 46 seconds and the Avalanche held off the Dallas Stars 6-5 on Saturday night.
Trailing 2-0 early, Colborne scored three of Colorado's next five goals to build a 5-2 lead. Carl Soderberg and Nathan MacKinnon also scored during the stretch, and Tyson Barrie added an insurance goal in the third period to kick off the Jared Bednar Era in winning fashion.
Bednar took over for Patrick Roy after the Hall of Fame goaltender-turned-coach surprisingly stepped away two months ago.
Tyler Seguin had two goals for the Stars, while Devin Shore, Jamie Benn and Brett Ritchie also scored.
Dallas pulled starter Antti Niemi at 7:05 of the second period after allowing five goals. Kari Lehtonen slowed the Avalanche's potent offensive attack so the Stars could work their way back into the game.
Barrie scored a goal that appeared to bounce off the skate of Stephen Johns and past Lehtonen to make it 6-4. Soon after, Ritchie made it a one-goal game when he slid a shot past Semyon Varlamov.
Blake Comeau was called for slashing with 1:56 remaining. The Stars pulled Lehtonen, but couldn't get anything past Varlamov.
The Avalanche certainly had ample opportunities to gain some separation in the third period. A shot by Andreas Martinsen clanged off the post. Later, Fedor Tyutin's slap shot appeared to go in and the horn sounded. But the puck actually hit the outside of the net. And later, Mikhail Grigorenko had a shot roll along the mouth of the goal before veering just wide.
Colborne signed with the Avalanche as a free agent in July after a 19-goal, 25-assist season with Calgary. He's a fan-favorite given that he played collegiately down the road at the University of Denver.
Bednar was a career minor leaguer — as a defenseman and then as a coach — before being hired by Colorado on Aug. 25. The 44-year-old led the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League to the Calder Cup last season.
His style may be even more up-tempo than the version Roy implemented. Colorado outshot Dallas 33-28.
It was a fast-paced first period filled with plenty of scoring. The Stars got things rolling early when Seguin scored a power play goal 43 seconds into the game. Shore added another 6:17 later and the Stars were in business with a 2-0 lead.
That's when things got a little wild. There was a scrum in front of the Stars goal and defenseman Patrik Nemeth sprawled out on the ice to keep it out of the net. The puck appeared to go in, but the ruling kept changing: No goal, goal, an awarded penalty shot to the Avalanche, a review where the goal was re-awarded. Finally, another review and the goal really did count.
In the end, Colborne was credited with the score. He added another 7:04 later.
The Avalanche haven't garnered much early respect with a majority of prognosticators predicting they'll finish outside of the playoff picture.
“People can say what they want,” said Matt Duchene, who will serve as an alternate captain this season. “Go out there and prove them wrong — that's our job.”
NOTES: Stars D Jamie Oleksiak (lower body injury) was a scratch for a second straight game. … Avs F John Mitchell (hip) was a scratch, along with F Cody McLeod.
Stars: At Nashville on Tuesday.
Avalanche: At Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh on Monday.