The Dallas Stars dominated play for a good part of Monday's preseason game against Colorado, but they came up short on the scoreboard, falling to the Avalanche, 4-2, at American Airlines Center.
"I thought we played good. We had a lot of chances," said Stars defenseman Julius Honka.
Honka and Brett Ritchie scored goals for the Stars. Ben Bishop played the entire game in goal and stopped 20 of 23 shots.
"I thought we played a really good game," Bishop said. "They deserved to win. [Colorado goalie Jonathan] Bernier played really well and kept them in there."
The Stars had a 36-24 shots advantage but Bernier stopped 25 of 26 shots for the Avalanche over the first two periods, and Semyon Varlamov stopped nine of ten in the third.
The Stars fell to 2-2-0 in the preseason, while Colorado improved to 3-2-0.
Colorado scored 30 seconds into the game when a Nathan MacKinnon shot bounced off Stars captain Jamie Benn and past Bishop.
"Kind of a tough one off Jamie on the first one, but then I felt pretty good," said Bishop, who was playing his second game of the preseason. "I felt a lot better than I did the first game. Still a little bit of rust on there. Some good and some bad, but definitely better than the first game. Hopefully, the next game will be a little better."
The Stars didn't register their first shot on goal until 10:57 of the first period, but they stepped up the pressure after that and tied the game late in the frame. Devin Shore's shot off the rush hit the end boards and then rebounded through the crease to Ritchie who scored from the right circle to tie the game, 1-1, at 15:51 of the first.
The Stars dominated most of the second 20 minutes, but the Avalanche scored two goals late in the period to take a 3-1 lead. Matt Nieto forced a turnover and then finished off a two-on-one rush to give Colorado a 2-1 lead at the 14:45 mark. Alexander Kerfoot made it 3-1, scoring off the rebound of his own shot to give the Avalanche a two-goal lead at 19:13 of the second.
Honka pulled the Stars to within 3-2 at the 1:12 mark of the third period. Honka started at the left point and knifed his way to the right circle before beating Bernier with a wrist shot.
"Lots of teams try to block a lot of shots, so you need to make a little fake before you shoot," Honka said. "I just felt like I had room there to skate in and just make the play."
The Stars had two chances on the power play in the third period but couldn't take advantage. They pulled Bishop late for an extra attacker, but Colorado's Mikko Rantanen sealed the win with an empty net goal to make it a 4-2 final.
"Today's a great lesson," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock. "We had really good control of the hockey game, and those are the games you've got to trust that you are going to win it in in the 55th or 56th minute. And we kind of cracked a little bit. We forced offense, and we forced the puck into areas that weren't proper and paid for it. That's a good lesson moving forward for tomorrow."
Julius Honka had a game-highs in shots on goal (7) and shot attempts (13).
John Klingberg was second on the Stars with 4 shots on goal and 9 shot attempts.
The Stars were 0-4 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
The Stars won 32 of 64 faceoffs (50 percent).
Tyler Seguin won 11 of 19 faceoffs (58 percent). Gemel Smith won 5 of 8 (63 percent). Roope Hintz won 8 of 16 (50 percent).
Esa Lindell led the Stars with 24:47 of ice time.
The Stars play preseason game number five Tuesday night when they take on the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center. Kari Lehtonen is expected to play the entire game in goal.
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Devin Shore - Roope Hintz - Brett Ritchie
Remi Elie - Adam Cracknell - Denis Gurianov
Curtis McKenzie - Gemel Smith - R.J. Umberger
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth - Julius Honka
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.