Two nights after a fourth consecutive underwhelming performance, the Colorado Avalanche came into tonight's game against the visiting Dallas Stars looking for an effort they can be proud of. Early on, anyway, it looked like starting goaltender Calvin Pickard could be in for another long night as the Stars scored 1:31 into the game courtesy of Jason Spezza, who beat Nick Holden on the play for the 1-0 Stars lead.
The Avalanche wouldn't wait long to respond as Carl Soderberg make his usual perfect pass to Blake Comeau, who flat out beat Antti Niemi high on the glove side at 2:45 of the first period to bring it to 1-1. Not satisfied with tying it, Nick Holden would beat Niemi from the point just minutes later to put Colorado ahead 2-1 a score they would take into the second period.
After several scoring chances early on, Ales Hemsky would finally find a way and beat Pickard late in the second period to bring the game to a 2-2 tie. Thinking they weren't interested in such a thing, the Avalanche would respond as an Erik Johnson-driven breakout would see Comeau return the favor to Soderberg, who scored his 11th of the season to make it 3-2 in favor of the Avs heading to the third.
A feisty third period with multiple matching roughing penalties and a slew of post-whistle scrums would see both teams playing on the edge between physical and dirty. A Nathan MacKinnon breakaway opportunity was negated when John Klingberg illegally impeded his progress, resulting in a MacKinnon penalty shot that he did not score on, giving Dallas new life.
The Stars would indeed find a way to even the score on a power play goal from Jason Demers, whose weak shot found its way past Pickard and into the net for a 3-3 tie.
A sloppy overtime period by the Avalanche provided the potent Stars with all the ammo they needed as John Klingberg would smoke one past Pickard and give Dallas the 4-3 victory.
John Klingberg - game-winning goal
Carl Soderberg - 1 goal, 1 assist
Blake Comeau - 1 goal, 1 assist
PLAY OF THE GAME
The game-winner by Klingberg as the Stars finally win a game against the Avalanche.
The penalty shot by MacKinnon was a huge moment in the third. Had he scored, the lead goes to 4-2 and Colorado might hang on and win. With the stop, Dallas had renewed life and took advantage, scoring the game's final two goals.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"We need to be better in general. Come on. let's not kid ourselves. We picked up a point tonight but we'd be lying to ourselves if we feel that we're okay." Patrick Roy on his team's recent performance
The loss in overtime helps and hurts the Avalanche as they get the a "loser point" and increase their lead in the standings on the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild. That said, they have a few more games played than the teams they're chasing so the blown third period lead resulting in only one point instead of two is the kind of thing that could haunt the Avalanche later in the season.
From a Dallas perspective, they end a lengthy losing streak against the Avalanche that dated back a while and the end of the losing against Colorado was something the Stars players were quite happy about postgame.
The Avs continue their homestand with a late night affair Saturday as they host the Winnipeg Jets. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 PM MST.