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Colorado Relentless in 5-2 Win vs. Dallas

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche just kept coming.

Even after getting down 1-0, and after the Dallas Stars tied the contest at 2-2 late in the first period Saturday, the Avs didn't let up.

Colorado responded from a 16-shot first period with a 17-shot second, and scored two power-play goals in the final frame to take a 5-2 victory at Pepsi Center. Colorado has now won five of its last seven games.

"We liked our game tonight," said Matt Duchene, who scored once and also assisted on the game-winner. "I think we did everything really well. We played inside the game. [Calvin Pickard] played big for us. We didn't allow too many shots."

Instead the Avs were the ones that dominated in the shots category, looking to take advantage of a Dallas Stars team that played the night before in Texas. Colorado outshot Dallas every period, firing 47 shots overall—one short of its season high—and had plenty of other chances on rebounds given up by Stars netminder Anders Lindback.

The Avalanche didn't seem to have much puck luck early with rebounds, as the biscuit just seemed to jump over sticks or was bouncing on shots. The Avs were finally able to capitalize on a rebound in front after Gabriel Landeskog put in a loose puck from Alex Tanguay's shot at 3:45 of the third period, giving Colorado a three-goal cushion.

"The last few games we have been trying to fire more shots," said defenseman Tyson Barrie, who tied a career high with three assists. "We got down, and we didn't panic. I thought we did a good job of being relentless. We got a few by him, and our power play was good tonight. So that was nice to see as well."

Duchene had a hand in two of the Avalanche's key tallies in the game. The first being a good feed from behind the net to Alex Tanguay at the left circle for a seeing-eye goal at 18:00, giving Colorado a 3-2 lead; and the second being his eighth goal of the year from a snipe on the power play just 46 seconds into the third.

The center and the entire Avs offense seemed to have a bit more jump in the step entering the second period after Dallas tied the game with 35 seconds left in the first, and it showed with their relentless play to finish the contest.

"I don't think we wasted any shots," Duchene said. "That is what I like about it the most… That is what Patty has been harping on all season. He wants us to make the plays and stuff when they're there, but when they are not there, put pucks on net and get some greasy ones. We could have had a couple on some rebounds."

Head coach Patrick Roy was particularly pleased with his team's chances, many of them developing by testing Lindback from all over the ice.

The Avs' first goal summed up what Roy was so happy about, as Daniel Briere fired the puck from the goal line in the left corner and the shot got through the Dallas goalie short side.

"I love the way we are playing right now. I really love [it]," Roy said. "We're intense, we're on the puck, we're competing well, we put pucks on net—look at the first goal by Briere. Bad angle shot, boom it's in. Maybe a tip on the stick, I don't know what happened, but it doesn’t always need to be pretty.

"I'm very pleased with our effort. I love the way we have competed. Our fans when they come, they know we're going to work hard, and I think we give them a good show."

BARRIE PILING ON THE POINTS

Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie has a share of the team lead in scoring after picking up three assists on Saturday night.

Barrie is tied with Nathan MacKinnon in scoring with 18 points after registering two goals and 16 assists in 24 games this year.

It was Barrie's second three-helper contest of the season (Oct. 24 vs. Vancouver) and also ties a career high. His three points also matched his career best for points in a single game (third time ever).

He also led the Avs in ice time with 23:44.

ANOTHER FIRST FOR PICKARD

Rookie goalie Calvin Pickard picked up another first in his young career Saturday night as he earned his first NHL win as a starter.

Calvin Pickard
last 4 games
Record: 3-1-0 | Min: 213
GAA: 1.41 | Sv%: .955
He made 22 saves in his third career start and sixth game overall. His previous two wins came in back-to-back relief appearances the past week, last Saturday against Carolina and on Tuesday at Arizona.

"I knew we were playing a great game tonight so I just wanted to limit my mistakes, and we got a couple power-play goals there at the end," Pickard said. "It was a great result and a big win for us."

Pickard is 3-1-0 with a .955 save percentage and a 1.41 goals-against average (213 minutes, 111 shots, five goals) in his last four appearances, and Roy said the amount of in-game experience the 22-year-old is receiving is a big reason for that success.

"The reason why he is playing so well is because he is playing a lot of games in Lake Erie," Roy said. "We believe for him, at the age he is, he needs to play a lot of games. This is the best way to develop players. Sometimes you need to be patient with players."

MITCHELL INJURY UPDATE

After missing three consecutive games with a leg injury, John Mitchell might be sidelined once again with a similar injury.

Mitchell did not play the final two periods because of a leg injury, likely suffered late in the first period. He was on the ice for both the Avs' goals in the opening stanza.

Roy did not have an update after the game, only confirming the injury.

CENTURY MARK FOR CLICHE

Marc-Andre Cliche played in his 100th career NHL game on Saturday night, and he still gets a thrill from putting on an Avalanche sweater.

"Just as exciting as the first one," Cliche said after morning skate. "It's really nice. It's a good accomplishment for me, but I want more than 100. Got to keep it going, and tonight is just another game and we got to win."

Acquired off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings on Sept. 22, 2013, nearly all of Cliche's NHL contests have come in an Avs uniform. He had played in only one game with the Kings (March 2, 2010) before making his Avalanche debut on Oct. 4, 2013 against Nashville.

He appeared in 76 games last season for Colorado and has played in 23 of 24 this year.

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