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game recap

Avalanche rally past Stars for fourth straight win

Rantanen, Compher score 46 seconds apart late in third period

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Mikko Rantanen scored with 1:56 left in the third period, and the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

The Avalanche tied it 2-2 on J.T. Compher's goal with 2:42 remaining.

"There's always belief in this team in this locker room," said Rantanen, who leads the NHL in scoring with 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists). "We know if we go down we know we can come back. It's shown a lot of times this year."

 

[WATCH: All Stars vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

Rantanen swept the rebound of Erik Johnson's shot behind Stars goalie Anton Khudobin 46 seconds after Compher scored.

Video: DAL@COL: Rantanen puts home rebound for late lead

"[Johnson] got a shot there and I was just trying to get in front of the net," Rantanen said. "I got a fortunate bounce right on my tape and I had an empty net to shoot at."

Compher, who has three goals in two games after missing 16 games with a head injury, banged in the rebound of Alexander Kerfoot's shot when he dug the puck from Khudobin's pads.

"We were just flying around getting pucks and bodies to the net," Compher said. "That's when we're at our best, when we're driving the net and attacking. We pinned them in the offensive zone, we had a few good backchecks to keep the play alive. We had bodies and pucks going to the net and I just happened to be the one who was there at the end to slam it in."

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said it was a spur of the moment decision to put a line of Compher, Kerfoot and Tyson Jost together in the final minutes.

"I like what J.T. has been doing lately, he has a hot stick," Bednar said. "We were running out of time and I wanted to get him out there with some guys that might have a chance to score. That was the biggest shift of the game for us. You're down 2-1, you have three young guys go out and hound the puck. They were getting above it, creating a secondary forecheck, created a couple chances and J.T. winds up banging in a rebound."

Video: DAL@COL: Compher backhands home tying goal

The Stars got third-period goals from Radek Faksa and Jamie Benn to take a 2-1 lead. Tyler Seguin passed to Benn in the slot for a shot that went in off the right skate of Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov at 15:03 after Faksa put in the rebound of Alexander Radulov's shot at 11:32.

"We battled hard in the third, got a lead and [let] it get away at the end," Benn said. "We need to learn how to manage the game when we have a lead."

Khudobin made 33 saves for the Stars (12-10-2), who have lost three of their past four games.

Video: DAL@COL: Khudobin makes pair of saves to deny Avs

Nathan MacKinnon scored, and Varlamov made 27 saves for the Avalanche (13-6-4), who have won four games in a row and are 6-0-1 in the past seven.

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead on MacKinnon's goal at 13:11 of the second period. MacKinnon backpedaled from the slot to the base of the left circle, took a pass from Rantanen and beat Khudobin with a one-timer high to the short side for his 15th goal.

Video: DAL@COL: Rantanen feeds MacKinnon for opening goal

"It's frustrating," Stars forward Blake Comeau said. "It felt like we grinded hard all game, did a lot of good things all game and found a way to get a lead with five minutes left. To come away with not a single point at the minimum, it's frustrating. It's tough to look back on it and find the positives after something like that."

 

They said it

"When I came to the NHL these were the kind of games I was excited to coach. Two teams playing at a high level. It was a great hockey game to be a part of. We're frustrated and disappointed that we're on the wrong end of it, but if we keep playing like we did tonight I'm really optimistic about where we'll end up." -- Stars coach Jim Montgomery, who spent the previous five seasons as coach at the University of Denver

 

"Just trying to help anyway I can, to produce. The first two games it's come in goals, but I can help in other ways. It feels good to be able to help the team when I came back." -- Avalanche forward J.T. Compher

 

Need to know

The Gabriel Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen line combined for five points (two goals, three assists) and has 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in the past four games. … Rantanen and MacKinnon each have nine points (three goals, six assists) in four-game point streaks. … Landeskog has six points (two goals, four assists) in a four-game streak. … Radulov has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past eight games. … The Stars went 0-for-2 on the power play and are 1-for-22 in the past seven games. … Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie had his seven-game point streak end. 

 

What's next 

Stars: At the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Nashville Predators on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, ALT2, NHL.TV) 

Video: Avalanche rally in 3rd for 3-2 win against Stars

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