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Stars still can't find traction on road, fall to Avalanche 3-0

Dallas' winless streak away from home hits five games following Wednesday's dud

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Results on the road continue to be elusive for the Dallas Stars. The Stars dropped their fifth straight game on the road, falling 3-0 to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night at Pepsi Center.

The Stars (11-10-1) have been outstanding a home, posting an 8-2-0 record. It's been a much different story on the road where they are 3-8-1 after Saturday's loss to the Avalanche.

 

[WATCH: Full Stars vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

"I don't know. There's a different body language on our team between home and away," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock. "That's something we've got to change. To make the playoffs, we are obviously going to have to be better on the road."

They are going to have to be better within the Central Division as well. The Stars have lost six of seven games (1-6-0) against the Central.

"It's still early, but that's a startling stat and something you can't be happy with," said Stars goaltender Bishop who stopped 29 of 32 shots. "We've got some division games coming up in the next few, and we'll really have to take the onus and try to win those division games."

Colorado scored two goals - one with 0.2 seconds left in the second period and the other 71 seconds into the third - to turn a 1-0 game into a 3-0 game, and that left the Stars too big a hill to climb, especially playing the second night of a back-to-back. The goal late in the second was a back-breaker.

Video: DAL@COL: Bishop stones Comeau's deflection in tight

"That's something that can't happen, especially at the end of the period going into the third," said Stars captain Jamie Benn.

Erik Johnson, Nail Yakupov, and Gabriel Landeskog scored goals, and Nathan MacKinnon had three assists for the Avalanche (11-8-2). Jonathan Bernier stopped 28 shots for the shutout.

"I thought right off the bat we deserved that game," said Bernier. "You know, we outcompeted them, we outskated [them]. Obviously, they played last night, so that was our game plan."

The Avalanche came out with a big push early, but the Stars weathered the storm thanks to Bishop who turned away four shots on Colorado's first power play including a sharp save on an Alexander Kerfoot bid from the slot. Later in the period, Bishop made a nice pad stop on a redirection by Carl Soderberg.

The Stars had some quality chances. Antoine Roussel hit the crossbar on a shorthanded chance after Bernier misplayed a puck off the end boards and Stephen Johns hit the post on a rush opportunity. Gemel Smith had a good chance off the rush, but it was turned away by Bernier.

Bernier came up big early in the second, denying a good chance by Devin Shore off the rush to keep it a scoreless game.

Video: Stars can't overcome Avalanche

Colorado took a 1-0 lead 3:02 into the second period when Nathan MacKinnon set up Erik Johnson on the rush, and the Avalanche defenseman slipped the puck through Bishop's pads from the right circle.

The Stars killed off two Avalanche power plays and had another great shorthanded chance, but Benn's bid from the slot hit the crossbar.

Colorado extended the lead to 2-0 late in the second. After Jamie Oleksiak gambled on a puck at the Colorado blue line, the Avalanche got an odd-man rush and Bishop came up with a big save on Landeskog with 1.9 seconds left in the period. But on the ensuing faceoff, MacKinnon won the puck to Yakupov who rifled the puck past Bishop from the slot with 0.2 seconds left in the period.

The Avalanche extended the lead to 3-0 just 71 seconds into the third period when Mikko Rantanen set up a wide-open Landeskog who scored from close range. The Stars had a couple of power-play chances but couldn't take advantage and headed home with another road loss.

"It's disappointing. I don't think any of us are very happy right now," said Bishop. "We can't keep coming on the road and having the same talk after every road game.

"We have to dig within, look ourselves in the mirror here and find a way to get wins on the road."

Video: DAL@COL: Bishop stones Landeskog on odd-man rush

 

Notes
  • The Stars were shut out for the first time this season.

  • Colorado outshot the Stars 32-28 and had a 52-46 advantage in shot attempts.

  • Mattias Janmark led the Stars with five shots on goal.

  • The Stars were 3-3 on the penalty kill and 0-2 on the power play.

  • The Stars won 26 of 61 faceoffs (45 percent). Jamie Benn won 5 of 10 (50 percent). Jason Spezza won 6 of 11 (35 percent). Tyler Seguin won 5 of 13 (35 percent). Gemel Smith won 4 of 10 (40 percent).

  • John Klingberg led the Stars with 23:31 of ice time.

  • The Stars recalled forward Curtis McKenzie from the Texas Stars and sent defenseman Julius Honka to Texas. The Stars brought up McKenzie as insurance due to a couple of forwards possibly not being able to play Wednesday but everybody was able to go, and McKenzie sat out as a healthy scratch.

Video: Road woes continue in Denver

 

What's Next

The Stars return home to host the Calgary Flames on Friday night at American Airlines Center. The Stars will retire Jere Lehtinen's No. 26 in a pregame ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Video: Janmark on loss to Avs

 

Stars Lineup

Mattias Janmark - Jamie Benn - Alexander Radulov
Devin Shore - Tyler Seguin - Jason Spezza
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Remi Elie - Gemel Smith - Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Jamie Oleksiak - Stephen Johns

Ben Bishop
Mike McKenna

Scratched: Curtis McKenzie
Injured: Kari Lehtonen (personal), Martin Hanzal (hand), Marc Methot (knee)

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.

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