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Eriksson's OT goal leads Stars past Avs 7-6

by Steve Hunt
DALLAS -- Rookie coach Glen Gulutzan was happy with the result, even if the way his Dallas Stars achieved it wasn't necessarily to his liking.

Loui Eriksson's second goal of the night at 3:55 of overtime gave the Stars a wild 7-6 win against the Colorado Avalanche at the American Airlines Center, handing the Avs only their second road defeat of the season.

"It was just one of those nights you don’t like as a coach but if you came to the game, you feel like you got your money’s worth," the first-year coach said.

Eriksson's winner came after he skated around the left side of the Colorado net and shot the puck through the crease; it deflected off Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson as he tried to stop onrushing Dallas forward Jamie Benn and slid into the net.

"He quietly goes about his business. I thought he was our best player tonight," Gulutzan said of Eriksson. "He just gets things done. He’s quietly competitive and he’s a good player."

Colorado got a hat trick from Matt Duchene, the first of his career, but lost for just the second time in eight road games.

"Matty had his legs moving tonight," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "That was key for him. He was skating. He was working hard and that’s why he got good results. "

The Stars showed some rush after a five-day break following Saturday's 3-1 home victory against New Jersey -- and Colorado capitalized, getting a goal from Jay McClement at 5:36 into the game and another from Duchene at 12:17 to head into the first intermission ahead 2-0.

But Dallas got its act together in the second period, scoring four unanswered goals to lead 4-2 with less than three minutes until intermission. Eriksson, Sheldon Souray, Vernon Fiddler and Alex Goligoski scored for the Stars, with all but Fiddler's goal coming on the power play.

However, the Avs cut it to 4-3 just 43 seconds after Goligoski's blast from near the blue line when Duchene scored after a costly giveaway by Benn in the Stars' end. The Avs tied it 43 seconds later when Paul Stastny scored from behind the Dallas goal on a shot that deflected off Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen and over the goal line.

Colorado recaptured the lead at 1:57 of the final period when Daniel Winnik scored for the third time this season, beating Lehtonen off a rebound. A power-play goal by Dallas' Eric Nystrom at 6:01 tied things up yet again but Duchene put Colorado back in front when he scored at 8:32. The third player chosen in the 2009 NHL Draft ducked and weaved his way around Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas before firing a 15-foot wrister under Lehtonen's right arm to make it 6-5.

That goal looked like it might hold up as the winner, but Benn tied it at 6-6 at 15:50 by deflecting home Robidas' slapper from the right point off the rush.

"We were resilient. We battled hard. We were down a few times but we fought, scratched, clawed and got the win," Stars captain Brenden Morrow said.

One big difference for Dallas in tonight’s win was a strong performance by their power play, which finished the night 3-for-6. Colorado was 2-for-5 on the power play.

"The power play was good and it was shots with somebody in front. It’s a pretty simple thing," Gulutzan said. "You look at their goals too. They put pucks at the net and drove guys there. Both teams were effective."

Dallas is now 6-1-0 at home this season. The Stars head out for a four-game road trip that starts Sunday afternoon at Carolina. Colorado will host Calgary on Sunday at the Pepsi Center.
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