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Avalanche Defeats Stars 4-2

Alexander Kerfoot scores the game-winner as Colorado improves to 3-2-0 in the preseason

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

The Colorado Avalanche picked up its third win of the preseason on Monday night as it defeated the Dallas Stars 4-2 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Nieto, Alexander Kerfoot and Mikko Rantanen scored for Colorado, while goaltenders Jonathan Bernier and Semyon Varlamov split the game in the crease.

Bernier made the start and stopped 25-of-26 shots through the first two periods and had an especially strong second frame, saving all 17 shots he faced.

Varlamov took over in the third period and denied nine of the 10 pucks that came his way. Varlamov also played the entire contest on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild, but he is trying to get in as much work as possible after missing eight months due to hip surgery to fix his injured groin.

Kerfoot's tally with 47 seconds remaining in the second period ended up as the game-winner and gave the Avs a 3-1 advantage going into the intermission.

Julius Honka tallied 1:12 into the last third stanza to get the Stars (2-2-0) within one score, but Rantanen's empty-net marker with 37 seconds left in regulation sealed Colorado's second win in as many days. The club defeated the Wild 5-1 on Sunday.

The Avalanche (3-2-0) was playing three exhibition games in three nights and despite losing 2-1 on Saturday at Minnesota, finished the stretch by outscoring its opponents 10-5.

Colorado only needed 30 seconds to take a lead on Monday, as MacKinnon tallied his fourth of the preseason off assists from Rantanen and Tyson Jost. It was MacKinnon's third goal in two games after he scored twice in the third period on Sunday.

Gabriel Bourque, Anton Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov also recorded helpers in the outing for the Avalanche.

The Avs held the advantage until 15:51 of the opening stanza when Brett Ritchie tied the contest for Dallas.

Colorado and Dallas stayed knotted up for nearly 20 minutes, but that's when Nieto scored with 5:15 left in the second period to give the Avs back the lead.

Both clubs went scoreless with the man advantage as the Avalanche was unable to convert on four of its power-play opportunities while the Stars went 0-for-3 on theirs.

Dallas did finish with a 36-24 edge in shots, marking the first contest of the preseason that the Avs didn't win the category.

The Avalanche now has one remaining contest in the preseason before the club opens the regular campaign in New York City against the Rangers on Oct. 5. Colorado closes exhibition play on Thursday at the Vegas Golden Knights.

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