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Complete Game Win Over Stars

Bernier picked up his first shutout as an Avs in the victory

by Callie Parmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Success is dependent on effort, and the Colorado Avalanche had a full game of just that on Wednesday to skate to a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars.

Erik Johnson scored for the second game in a row and goaltender Jonathan Bernier earned his first shutout with the Avs in the victory.

Johnson scored the first goal of the contest, the eventual game-winner, at the beginning of the second period.

Nathan MacKinnon carried the puck into Dallas' end and fed the puck to Johnson, who found an opening between Ben Bishop's pads for his second marker of the season.

"MacK kind of froze them," Johnson said. "They obviously know what a threat he is so I just tried to join the play wide and funnel the puck on the net. It happened to squeak through and I was right there over the goal line, so I knew it went all the way across. I was pretty excited."

It was his second goal in two games, the first time he has scored in back-to-back contests since Feb. 14-17, 2016 (at Buffalo, vs. Montreal).

Johnson is a trailblazer on the ice and leads the Avs in ice time at 26:32 and shifts-per-game at 32.3, fifth and first in the league, respectively.

"It feels good to contribute and to see Bernier get the shutout," Johnson said after the game. "Complete game from start to finish. I really liked it."

Bernier stopped all 28 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season, and the 15th of his career.

"It's always nice to get a shutout. It's not an easy thing in this league," said the netminder. "But a shutout is the whole team. I thought we competed for 60 minutes, even on the power play we didn't give up anything, so that was a solid performance by everyone."

The Avs took two penalties in the third period but only allowed the Stars to register four shots on goal with the man advantage.

Dallas went scoreless on both power-play opportunities and Colorado improved to 25-for-27 (92.6) on the penalty kill at home this season, fourth-best in the league.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar liked the mentality that his club had in the win.

"I liked the discipline and our decision making throughout the whole night, especially the third period," Bednar said. "That was a real mature third period from our guys. Good decisions, no risky pucks into the middle of the ice.

"And Bernier, he made it look easy. He made some big saves tonight. We had a couple breakdowns, and he was spectacular. Real calm and he took care of all the rebounds too. Our guys did a good job in front of him, but he was really good in net too."

Video: Jonathan Bernier posts first shutout with Avs

The shutout was Bernier's second win in a row, and fourth this campaign. It was also his second career shutout against Dallas.

The Stars came out strong in the third period and outshot the Avs 12-6 in the frame. In the contest, however, Colorado outshot Dallas 32-28.

At 29-years-old, Johnson is one of the seasoned veterans on the team and he liked the level of sophistication that he saw from the second-youngest club in the NHL.

"I think that was a mature win for our group," said the defenseman. "I think in years past, you might have seen us give away that lead. When it was 2-0, we found a way to get the third. That probably dampered their spirits a little bit. I think once we got that third one, they found it pretty tough to come back and I love the way we came out of our zone. There was no panic, we were simple, we were sharp, and we possessed the puck down in their end."

With the victory, the Avalanche improved to 7-1-1 at home this season and has won five of its last outings at Pepsi Center.

"I think you look at all the really strong teams, top to bottom they are good at home," Johnson said. "They defend their home ice very well, and I think if we want to be one of those teams we got to take advantage. Especially the altitude. Teams don't like coming in here, and they make no secret about that. I think the altitude is an advantage for us and if we keep going like this at home, anything on the road is just gravy. We got to keep it up. It's fun to play winning hockey, especially in front of our great fans."

TOP LINE SUCCESS

Gabriel Landeskog scored Colorado's third goal in the contest after MacKinnon passed behind the net to Mikko Rantanen, who fed it to the Swede for a one-timer. The left wing leads the team with nine goals this season, and he now has 24 points in 25 career games against Dallas.

MacKinnon assisted on all three of Colorado's goals in the contest, and Rantanen registered a helper on the first and third tallies.

In total, Landeskog, MacKinnon and Rantanen combined for six points (one goal, five assists) and has totaled 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in the last two home games.

"They are at a point now where they got a confidence in one another, what they can do," Bednar said of the chemistry in his top line. "The detail of the game is good and their defending is good, so they are not spending a bunch of time in their zone."

Video: Nathan MacKinnon on the shutout win vs. Dallas

YAKUPOV'S SNIPER

With 1.9 seconds left in the second period, MacKinnon won a faceoff on the left circle and Nail Yakupov fired a snap shot past Ben Bishop, stopping the clock with just 0.2 seconds remaining in the frame.

"Win it back to him and let him shoot it," MacKinnon said of what the plan was with not much time left on the clock. "That stuff almost never works, so it's pretty cool when it does. Just barely beat it, but 0.2. It's pretty cool."

Yakupov has 10 points (seven goals, three assists) this campaign and has now surpassed his total from last season (nine) when he played in 40 contests with the St. Louis Blues.

GIRARD CONTINUES TO SHINE

Rookie defenseman Samuel Girard finished the contest with a plus-2 rating and is continuing to impress his teammates.

He was on the first defensive pairing with Johnson again, the fourth contest in a row that the rear guards have played together.

"I haven't really played with a guy that possesses the puck skills that he has. And that's not a knock on any of the guys that I have played with before," said Johnson. "It's just you just don't see guys like that come around very often. Super good kid, smart kid, makes it easy on me. I don't have to tell him much, I try to help him as much as I can on the ice but he has made a lot of heavy plays by himself."

At just 19 years old, Girard has registered five points (one goal, four assists) in his first 11 NHL contests.

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