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Career Nights For Guenin And Barrie In Dallas

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

On the ice, the Colorado Avalanche's defensive pairing of Tyson Barrie and Nate Guenin have clear chemistry.

Having played with each other for the better part of two seasons now, the two blueliners know where each other are going to be on the ice, and what each other's strengths are. Guenin knows that Barrie will jump into the offensive attack, and Barrie knows that Guenin will help cover for him on the backcheck.

Barrie is the more offensive minded of the two players, while Guenin is more defensive. But on Friday night in the heart of Texas, both rear guards had career nights on the scoresheet.

Guenin and Barrie each recorded a goal and two assists, helping spur the Avs to a third-period comeback and a 5-4 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. Colorado scored three times and came back twice in the final stanza.

"There is a reason why we play 60 minutes," Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said after the contest. "We had 20 minutes to redeem ourselves, and that’s what the guys did."

Guenin said the team wasn't happy with how it played after the first two periods as it only had seven shots, yet only trailed 2-1 on the scoreboard. The Avs outshot the Stars 13-9 in the third period.

“The first two periods were not acceptable. In between periods we had a little talk," Guenin told reporters after the game. "That’s not good enough any time of the year, especially right now. We came out, and they got that goal (early in the third period). That’s one thing with our team, we don’t quit."

The win gave Colorado a season sweep of Dallas and allowed the Avs to jump the Stars in the Western Conference standings. It is the first time that the Avalanche has swept the Stars since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995.

Colorado is now in 11th place in the West with 65 points, six behind the Minnesota Wild (71 points) for the second wild card position. The Avs will be able to make up more ground in the standings on Saturday as they host the Wild at Pepsi Center to close out their back-to-back set against Central Division foes.

Guenin's tally and two helpers set a new career high for points in a game. His play early in the third period especially helped the Avs comeback, as he assisted on the club's first goal to cut the deficit to one at 5:43 before tying the game with a shot of his own 1:15 later.

His previous career high in a game was two points during his rookie season with the Philadelphia Flyers, registering two assists on March 31, 2007 against the New York Rangers.

Guenin's goal against the Stars came from a cross-ice pass by Gabriel Landeskog that found him wide open at the left circle. The Ohio State alum then wristed a shot short side that first hit Kari Lehtonen's pad before dribbling to the right and squeaking inside the post for his second score of the season. The play was originally ruled as no goal, but after video review it was determined that the puck did find its way across the goal line.

Guenin credited Barrie for his career night.

"Sitting next to Tyson in the locker room," Guenin joked to members of the media after the game, stating that some of Barrie's scoring touch had rubbed off on him. "They want the 'D' to be more active, and Landy made a good pass."

Barrie had the secondary assist on Guenin's score and recorded the primary helper on another Avs game-tying tally later in the final frame, this time from Landeskog with 6:43 left to knot the contest 3-3 and force overtime.

The game-tying sequence began with Barrie receiving a pass from Ryan O'Reilly in the high slot and firing a wrist shot toward the cage. Landeskog was then able to get the shaft of his stick on the puck to redirect it past Lehtonen for his 16th goal of the year and ninth point in his last eight games (six goals and three assists).

The assist on the tying goal was Barrie's third point of the night, tying his career high for points in a game. It was the fourth time that Barrie had recorded three points in a game this season, and it improved his season total to a career-high 39 points (10 goals and 29 assists). The Victoria, British Columbia native tallied 38 points (13 goals and 25 assists) in 64 games last season.

Barrie's goal on Friday night tied the game 1-1 in the second period after he received a drop pass by Matt Duchene and fired a blazing wrister that went into the top right corner of the net, beating Lehtonen's glove short side.

Guenin helped create the scoring sequence by corralling a loose puck in the neutral zone and moving it across center ice before finding Duchene open at the Stars' blue line.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER START

For the 18th consecutive game, Semyon Varlamov started between the posts for the Avalanche. And like he's done many times before, he was big when the club needed him to be.

Varlamov made 32 saves, including 14 in the second period, and denied all three Dallas attempts in the shootout to help the Avs to the come-from-behind victory.

"Varly can give us a chance every night," Guenin said. "He kept us in that game, and we were able to just keep battling back.”

His 18 straight starts ties him with Dan Bouchard for the fourth most in franchise history (Nov. 15-Dec. 27, 1983 with Quebec) and the second most since the team moved to Colorado in 1995. Only Craig Anderson's 23 straight starts in 2009-10 are more in an Avs uniform. The franchise record is held by Ron Tugnutt, who made 26 consecutive starts in 1990-91 with Quebec.

Varlamov entered the game 8-7-2 with a 2.52 goal-against average and .913 save percentage in the previous 17 games of his stretch.

He is expected to start the Avalanche's game Saturday against the Wild.

BRIERE, REDMOND BACK IN THE LINEUP

Daniel Briere made his return to the Colorado lineup Friday after being a healthy scratch for the past six games.

He last played Feb. 12 against the New York Rangers, and began the game on the fourth line with center Marc-Andre Cliche and left wing Cody McLeod.

After being out of the lineup for over two weeks, Briere said he just tried to keep it simple in the first period, though it was tough to do.

"Obviously the nerves are going. You want to go 100 miles per hour and sometimes you do a bit too much, which I probably did on my first shift, but after that I was able to calm down a little bit and start feeling better," he said.

Defenseman Zach Redmond also returned to the lineup after being scratched in Colorado's previous game on Tuesday at Nashville. Stefan Elliott, who had played in Redmond's place against the Predators, was reassigned to Lake Erie on Wednesday.

Paul Carey was the lone healthy scratch against the Stars, but Roy has said he will likely play on Saturday against the Wild.

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