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Avalanche Begins Preseason With Back-to-Back Wins

Colorado defeated Dallas 4-2 after winning in Minnesota

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

The Colorado Avalanche scored three times in the third period and came back to defeat the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Wednesday at Pepsi Center to win its second preseason game in as many nights.

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin tallied 16 seconds into the final frame to tie the outing for Colorado, and Ben Smith scored the winner with 4:16 remaining when he tipped Jim O'Brien's shot from the right-wing wall past goaltender Philippe Desrosiers.

"I found myself open there; it's always surprising in front of the net," said Smith. "You always have someone cross-checking you or trying to throw their weight at you, but it was nice to be open there, get a stick [on it] and see it go in."

Beauchemin began the comeback by burying the puck during a scramble in front of the Dallas net to tie the game 2-2.

"We weren't satisfied with the way we played in the first two [periods]," Beauchemin said. "Our goalie kept us in the game and did a great job."

For a veteran like the 36-year-old Beauchemin, the first exhibition contest was about continuing to build up his game for opening night in 17 days.

"It will be better. We all have to be better as the preseason games go on," Beauchemin said. "Tonight was the first one for most of us, and it takes some time just to put it in your head and make sure you just go out there and make the right play and just not have to think out there."

Colorado's Joe Whitney began the game's scoring midway through the first period, connecting on a wrist shot from the right circle after receiving a nice, cross-zone pass by Tyson Barrie.

The Avs took the one-goal lead into the intermission, but the Stars came out flying in the second stanza and responded with two quick goals. Radek Faksa netted both scores, one just seven seconds in and the other at 3:30.

But Colorado countered with a strong third period.

"I think as a team, the first 40 minutes, we weren't doing what we wanted to do," Smith said. "So to come out there in the third and find a way to respond and get a win, it felt good."

Avalanche netminder Calvin Pickard made 22 saves on 24 shots before being relieved at the start of the third period for Kent Simpson, who went on to stop all seven shots he faced to become the winning goalie on record.

Patrick Wiercioch closed the game's scoring with an empty-net tally with 34 seconds left.

Colorado's roster against Dallas featured mostly fresh bodies, with only JT Compher, Rocco Grimaldi, Whitney and Smith playing in the first half of the back-to-back on Tuesday at the Minnesota Wild. The Avs won the preseason opener 4-1.

"Obviously every time you are playing a game here, it's valuable experience," Smith said. "It's a good opportunity, and I'm just trying to earn whatever ice I can get."

The Avalanche's next preseason game is Friday against the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center. Game time is at 7 p.m., and it will be broadcasted live on Altitude Sports Radio AM950 in Denver and on

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