Dallas forward Jussi Jokinen
came into the Stars’ game against Colorado having scored just three goals this season — all on the road. On Friday night, he put on a show for the home folks.
Jokinen, known more for his skills in shootouts, scored once in the first period and three times in the second to power the Stars to a 6-1 victory over the Avalanche, ending Dallas’ four-game losing streak.
It was the first four-goal game in the NHL this season, and the first by a Star since new co-general manager Brett Hull
had four against Anaheim on March 21, 2001.
“I had a good feeling before the game,” said Jokinen, who scored 17 and 14 goals in his first two NHL seasons but is known better for his success in shootouts — he’s 16-for-27 lifetime.
“It was good to get my first goal of the game early, which was my first goal at home this season. I had two good goals and two lucky bounces.”
Stars coach Dave Tippett
took note of how Jokinen made the most of his opportunities. “You have to earn the bounces,” said Tippett. “I thought he went out and did a lot of good things and capitalized on his chances.”
Jokinen got some help from defenseman Sergei Zubov
, who assisted on all four goals.
“Zubov wound up with four assists that weren’t a spectacular four assists,” Tippett said. “He did the right things with the puck. He makes plays look so easy, that’s why he’s the player he is.”
It’s been a tumultuous week in Dallas. On Tuesday, the Stars fired GM Doug Armstrong, and a day later, they replaced longtime team president Jim Lites. That night, they lost 4-3 to San Jose in a shootout. Friday’s win was the team’s first under the new regime of co-general managers Les Jackson and Hull — and the Stars’ first at home since beating Anaheim on Oct. 20.
"It's a big relief. It's been a frustrating month for me and the whole team," said Jokinen, “We need some points to get rolling. It was a lot of fun."
Jokinen got the Stars’ first goal on the power play at 4:22 of the first period when he beat Jose Theodore
with a wrist shot.
“Jussi’s first goal let them know that it was going to be a tough night,” said Dallas center Jeff Halpern
, who scored in the second period.
It was also a boost for Jokinen.
"Getting that first goal gave me a lot of confidence," Jokinen said. "Things just got going.”
Jokinen needed just over seven minutes of the second period complete his big night. He scored his second goal 3:47 into the period when he put another wrist shot past Theodore after taking a pass from Antti Miettinen
After Halpern tipped in Mike Modano
’s shot at 5:11, Jokinen tapped in Zubov’s perfect pass for a power-play goal at 7:00, ending Theodore’s night. But replacement Peter Budaj
fared no better: Jokinen grabbed a loose puck after Zubov’s shot hit an Avalanche player in front of the net and snuck in through the goaltender’s pads at 10:52.
“They capitalized on their chances,” Avs winger Ryan Smyth
said. “They were scoring on backdoor tap-ins, and that's tough for the goal to get those. We’ve got to play better and smarter and harder.”
The crowd at American Airlines Center was hoping for a fifth goal by Jokinen in the third period, but had to settle for Mike Ribeiro
’s team-high eighth of the season before Jaroslav Hlinka
broke up Mike Smith
’s shutout with 3:45 remaining.
Smith stopped 17 of 18 Avalanche shots. “The last little while has been frustrating because I haven’t been playing much,” said Smith. “I wanted to prove I can play. Tonight was a big confidence boost.”
Colorado was coming off an extended break, having not played since Sunday. The Avalanche looked nothing like the team that had a 7-1-1 stretch before that.
"We were brutal in all aspects of the game," coach Joel Quenneville
said. "We had no spark, no emotion. We got dominated in every aspect of the game tonight.”
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.