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Avalanche snap Stars' three-game winning streak

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- When Semyon Varlamov allowed a goal to Tyler Seguin late in the second period to tie the game at 3-3, the Colorado Avalanche goaltender didn't dwell on it. Instead, he regrouped.

Varlamov made 13 of his 41 saves in the third period, including several more against Seguin and one at close range from Erik Cole to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Monday.

"I was not happy about the third goal. That was my goal," Varlamov said. "I tried to regroup for myself and get ready for the third period."

Colorado (33-14-5) received the game-winner 4:13 into the final period when Alex Tanguay scored his fourth of the season on a wrist shot that deflected off the skate of Stars defenseman Sergei Gonchar.

Dallas (24-21-8) had its three-game winning streak snapped.

"The puck goes off our skate into the net for the game-winning goal. That's tough," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.

Tanguay's goal, which came after his shot from the left circle deflected in off Gonchar's skate, came 19 seconds after Dallas failed to convert on a power play following a holding call on Nate Guenin 1:54 into the final period.

"It wasn't pretty, but those things happen," Tanguay said. "I had [Paul Stastny] at the corner of the net. If it doesn't hit something else, it probably goes in with him. I'll take those bounces."

Seguin led Dallas with three points (two goals, one assist). Captain Jamie Benn (one goal, one assist) and defenseman Alex Goligoski (two assists) also chipped in two points each for the Stars.

"I thought Jamie (Benn) had a great game. Tyler (Seguin) really skated well and had a great game," Ruff said.

The Avalanche struck early when Nathan MacKinnon beat Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen with a backhand 1:40 into the game. After a poor attempted clearance by Alex Goligoski, the puck fell to MacKinnon, who finished from the left side of the net for his 18th of the season.

Colorado then doubled its lead at 15:57 of the first when Jamie McGinn scored his 12th of the season after collecting his own rebound. Lehtonen denied McGinn's initial shot, but McGinn skated in uncontested and beat Lehtonen with a backhand off the rebound.

"The difference in the game without a doubt was the start of the game and the performance of our goalie," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Having such a good start, they had to play catch-up hockey. In this League, it's very difficult."

Dallas cut it to 2-1 at 17:27 of the first when Benn roofed a shot over Varlamov. Benn's wrister from the left circle beat Varlamov glove side after a pass from Seguin.

"We had a bit of a tough start there, but we did a lot of good things in the game," Benn said. "I think we outworked them. They capitalized on a couple lucky goals there, and that's the game."

After trailing 2-1 at the first intermission, Dallas quickly tied it in the second period when Seguin scored a power-play goal at 1:02. Seguin finished with a low shot inside the left post after a cross-ice pass from Benn. It was Seguin's 22nd of the season, but first in 12 games.

"It felt good," Seguin said of ending his scoring drought. "[It] felt like I lost the monkey off my back for sure, getting that goal. I've been thinking about it, but not as much as of late because of winning games."

The Stars were on a 4-on-3 power play after Colorado defenseman Nick Holden was called for a trip on Seguin 36 seconds into the second. Avalanche center John Mitchell was called for holding at 19:34 of the first period and Cole was whistled for interference three seconds later.

Colorado regained the lead at 17:57 of the second when Stastny scored a power-play goal with a backhand. Dallas defenseman Jordie Benn attempted to clear the puck from behind his goal, but his clearance struck the right post, falling to the skates of Stastny, who finished over Lehtonen's blocker for his 15th of the season.

The Avalanche was on the power play after the Stars were called for having too many men on the ice at 16:22.

Seguin's second of the evening pulled the game level again 16 seconds later. Following a pass by Goligoski from the Dallas zone to Seguin in neutral ice, the speedy forward dashed up the right side of the ice and beat Varlamov with a wrister from the right circle that struck his right shoulder before crossing the line.

Dallas outshot Colorado 19-8 in the second period, giving the Stars a 31-18 edge in shots through 40 minutes. For the game, the Stars outshot the Avalanche 44-21.

Lehtonen, who stopped 17 shots for Dallas, left the ice for an extra attacker with 1:01 remaining, but the Stars were unable to find the equalizer and force overtime.

"We emptied the tank to get [the last goal] back. We just couldn't get one to go," Ruff said.

Colorado ended its three-game road trip and stretch of three games in four days at 2-1-0. The Avalanche host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

"It's a three-game road trip, so we wanted to come out 2-1," Stastny said. "That was important for us. So now we have two days to rest up here and get back at it. So for us, I think it was good to end the road trip this way."

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