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Postgame Wrap-Up: Avs Capitalize on Strong Start versus Stars

Colorado scores three times in the first frame

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

After falling to the St. Louis Blues in overtime on Friday, the Colorado Avalanche aimed to play to its identity early in its next contest and get back to its winning ways.

The Avs did that as they scored three times in the first 20 minutes and won 6-4 against the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

The Avalanche actually hit twine five times in the opening frame, but the Stars challenged two of them for goaltender interference and only three of the markers ended up counting.

"We have one of our best first periods of the year. I mean we score five goals and two of them get disallowed," said head coach Jared Bednar. "I mean part of our goal tonight was to own the net fronts and make sure we did a better job of sealing out, letting our goalies see pucks. Then, at the other end making sure we get there, breaking the goalie's sight line and making it hard to move us out of the front of the net… I guess you get two goalie interference goals called back, you are doing your job."

Video: Jared Bednar on the Avs' win vs. Stars

The Avs had 20 shots on goal in the first period, the most in a single frame this campaign. They had previously registered 18 in three different stanzas, most recently on Dec. 4 at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Stars tallied twice in 44 seconds in the second period and twice again in the third to eventually knot the game at 4-4 with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.

Gabriel Landeskog regained the lead for Colorado by tipping Erik Johnson's shot past Denver native and Stars netminder Ben Bishop with 3:20 left on the clock. Nathan MacKinnon sealed the win with an empty-netter soon after.  

Video: DAL@COL: Landeskog nets go-ahead goal on deflection

"We needed to end the losing streak, we were really great early in the game," said MacKinnon. "It was unfortunate that we let them come back, but Gabe had a good goal to get us in it again. It is obviously nice to end that." 

The Avalanche is now 3-1-1 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season and 2-0-0 against the Stars.

GABE HITS 20 GOAL MARK: Gabriel Landeskog scored twice in the victory to bring his total for the campaign to 21 tallies. His second marker was the game-winner, and he now leads the league with six game-winning goals this campaign.

Nathan MacKinnon also scored for the 21st time this season, and Colorado is now one of two teams in the league to have two players on its roster with 20 or more goals (Winnipeg).

Video: DAL@COL: Landeskog shows patience on power-play goal

Landeskog, MacKinnon and their linemate Mikko Rantanen combined for five goals and four assists in the contest.

"I believe Landy is the guy that is underrated, he probably doesn't get enough credit. He is the glue guy on that line, he opens up lines of communication for those guys," Bednar said of Landeskog. "He is a calming influence, and he is a competitive guy. He is strong on pucks, and he makes a lot of plays that helps these other two guys.

"Call him a complimentary player, but he has been getting into areas to score goals all year long. That is just what he does for that line, nevermind what he brings to our room with his leadership."

MIKKO EXTENDS HIS STREAK: Rantanen's three-point outing (two goals, one assist) extended his career-long point streak to 14 games, which is tied with the Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin for the longest active stretch in the NHL.

Rantanen's 14 consecutive games with a point is tied for the third longest in Avalanche history (since 1995-96).

The 22-year-old right wing scored twice in an outing for the second time this season and the sixth time in his career. Both markers came on the power play, the first time he has scored two man-advantage goals in a game in his 198-game tenure in the league.

Rantanen continues to lead the league in scoring with 56 points (15 goals, 41 assists) through 33 contests this season.

Video: DAL@COL: MacKinnon threads the needle to Rantanen

4-POINT NIGHT FOR MacK: MacKinnon also had a multi-point game, recording four points (one goal, three assists) for the fourth time this season (last: Nov. 28 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins).

The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native now has points in his last five games and increased his point total for the season to 52 (21 goals, 31 assists). He joins Rantanen as the only players in the NHL to surpass the 50-point mark this campaign.

The duo is just the fifth set of teammates since 1981-82 to be the first two skaters to reach 50 points, joining Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby (2009-10), Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr (1995-96), Wayne Gretzky and Glenn Anderson (1985-86) and Gretzky and Jari Kurri (1983-84).

Video: Nathan MacKinnon talks about the win vs. the Stars

JOST'S 100TH GAME: The outing marked the 100th game of Avalanche forward Tyson Jost's NHL career.

The St. Albert, Alberta, native was drafted by Colorado in the first round (10th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft. He made his debut in the league on March 31, 2017 against St. Louis and has 34 career points (17 goals, 17 assists), 11 of which have come this season.

 

THE AVS MAN ADVANTAGE: The Avalanche finished 3-for-7 on the power play and is now 34-for-114 (29.8 percent) this season, the second-best success rate in the NHL.

Colorado has now scored three man-advantage goals in three different contests in 2018-19, which is tied for the league lead (Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Calgary) for games with three or more power-play tallies. The Avs' seven power-play chances against Dallas was a season high.

"We had a meeting before the game about the power play because it hasn't been that good lately," Rantanen said. "We wanted to bounce back and I think we were outworking them, outshooting them and putting pucks to the net so that the big thing."

MORE NOTES: Erik Johnson helped on Landeskog's game-winning goal to record his 200th career assist.

Ian Cole finished with two blocked shots and continues to lead the league in the category (94).

Matt Calvert has scored a goal in consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Avs' 44 total faceoff wins is a season high. The 86 faceoffs between Dallas and Colorado is the most of any game in the league this season.

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