Avalanche cruise to 6-2 win over Stars
Paul Stastny was slumping and frustrated with his scoring drought.
Facing the Dallas Stars helped clear that up for the Colorado Avalanche center.
Stastny scored twice and added two assists and the Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Monday night.
Erik Johnson and Andre Benoit also scored in a four-goal second period, and Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie scored for Colorado.
Stastny hadn't notched a point since Nov. 19, when he had a goal and assist against Chicago. The scoring drought grew to nine games before he put together one of his best periods of his career.
"I always put pressure on myself," Stastny said. "Of anyone I was probably the most frustrated. Whether I show it or not, you guys won't see it."
It was a familiar feeling for Stastny, who had a two-goal game against the Stars on Nov. 1. The lone hat trick of his career came against Dallas on Oct. 3, 2007.
His breakout couldn't have come at a better time for him or his team, which has struggled to score lately.
"I feel like that, especially for Stast," said forward P.A. Parenteau, who tied a career high with three assists.
"We were on the puck the last few games and couldn't get it done. The confidence was low for a couple of guys and it's tough on you. You're playing decent hockey and you're not rewarded."
Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist and Kevin Connauton scored his first NHL goal for the Stars, who have dropped three of the past four.
Goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped 42 shots for Dallas in a rare poor start against Colorado. Lehtonen was 8-3-2 with a 2.52 goals-against average against the Avalanche before Monday.
"That was pretty much us laying an egg," forward Jamie Benn said. "They came out strong and jumped all over us."
The Avalanche outshot Dallas 21-10 in the first period, but managed just one goal against Lehtonen. It was a different story in the second.
Stastny broke a 1-all tie when he knocked in Jamie McGinn's tip pass 8:29 into the period for his ninth goal of the season. Benoit made it 3-1 when he pinched in from the blue line and blasted a shot through traffic past Lehtonen.
Stastny scored again when he tipped a shot by Gabriel Landeskog in front of the net, and Johnson finished the run with a shot from the top of the right circle with 3 seconds left in the period to make it 5-1.
Seguin scored early in the third, but Barrie's first goal of the season on Stastny's second assist made it 6-2.
It was more than enough for the Avalanche, who improved to 3-0 against the Stars this season.
Colorado scored six goals despite going 0 for 5 on the power play and failing to score on a pair of two-man advantages.
"The power play was really good, to be honest. We had a lot of shots," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "What else can you do? I don't want to over talk about the power play; tonight we didn't need the power play."
The teams will play again in Dallas on Tuesday night.
Colorado took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period when MacKinnon beat Lehtonen with a shot from the left circle. It was his seventh goal of the season.
The Avalanche continued to get shots on Lehtonen, and had a chance to add to their lead when they had 1:26 of a two-man advantage. They couldn't convert, and moments after the Stars killed off Sergei Gonchar's penalty, Matt Duchene was sent off for hooking.
Connauton tied it on the ensuing 4-on-4 with 33 seconds left in the first.
"I was elated," Connauton said. "The elation wore off pretty quick -- as quick as it took them to take over in the second period."
Dallas nearly scored again with 12 seconds left, but Seguin's shot from a sharp angle never crossed the goal line before resting on goalie Semyon Varlamov's back.
Varlamov had 31 saves for Colorado.
NOTES: Colorado D Ryan Wilson (back) was activated from the injured list, but did not return to the lineup. Wilson has missed 18 games after being injured Nov. 6 against Nashville. ... MacKinnon extended his points streak to four games. ... The 48 shots were the second most Lehtonen has faced this season. Chicago had 50 shots in a 4-3 loss to Dallas on Dec. 3. ... Colorado's six goals tied a season high.