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Dickinson scores in NHL debut as Stars top Avalanche, 4-2

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Jason Dickinson’s NHL debut turned out to be a memorable one. Dickinson scored a goal on his first NHL shot to give the Dallas Stars an early lead in their 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche Thursday night at American Airlines Center.

“I just thought of coming in here and playing my game, keeping it simple and just trying to contribute as best I can,” Dickinson said, “fortunately enough it ended up as a goal.”

Dickinson, called up to the NHL Thursday morning because center Jason Spezza was out due to illness, gave the Stars a 1-0 lead late in the first period dominated by Dallas. The Stars extended the lead to 3-0 with two power play goals in the second period while building a 26-7 shots advantage.

“I thought we put together a real solid effort,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “I thought as a group everybody played well.”

The win pushed the Stars’ record to 49-23-9 and kept them tied with St. Louis at 107 points atop the Central Division. The Stars are in first place because of their edge in the regulation/overtime wins (ROW) tiebreaker. Both teams have one game left. The Stars host Nashville and the Blues host Washington. The Stars would clinch the division and the top seed in the West with a win over the Predators on Saturday.

“I think it’s even good that our last game means something,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “It’s going to keep us sharp and keep us on our toes.”

“Obviously you know the rest of the season, our fates are kind of in our own hands as far as finishing it off,” Stars forward Colton Sceviour said. “We did our part tonight. We had a big jump and got the lead, and held on to it, which was huge.”

Sceviour, Jordie Benn and Antoine Roussel also scored goals for the Stars. Radek Faksa and Ales Hemsky both had two assists. Kari Lehtonen stopped 17 of 19 shots.

POSTGAME VIDEOS

       Dickinson on first NHL goal: "I'm thankful"
          
       Ruff: "We've got one more tough game"
    
       Iron Maiden in the Emporium

Colorado, which was eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday, lost its fifth straight game and fell to 39-38-4 on the season.

“I expect more from our guys,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. “When you’re out of the playoffs, emotions are not the same. We had some moments in the third period. It clearly was not enough. What cost us during the year, that’s exactly what happened to us – turnovers. I think we had three turnovers on that first goal and then we had a bad penalty. We gave up three goals basically tonight and it’s been the story of our season.”

The Stars outshot the Avalanche 15-4 in the first period and scored the only goal. After an Avalanche turnover behind their own net, Valeri Nichushkin centered the puck to Dickinson who backhanded it past Colorado goaltender Calvin Pickard as he tried to dive back to cover a wide-open net at 15:13 of the first.

“Just don’t miss,” Dickinson said he was thinking as he saw the open net.

“I thought he played well for his first NHL game,” Ruff said of Dickinson. “A little bit fortunate but I thought that line [with Nichushkin and Sceviour] gave us some good opportunities. He scored, so for a first game I thought it was a good showing.”

The Stars went on a five-minute power play early in the second when Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson was given a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding Stars defenseman Johnny Oduya. Sceviour scored 36 seconds into the power play, taking a pass from Patrick Sharp and scoring from close range to make it a 2-0 game at 3:43 of the second. Late in the five-minute power play, the Stars went on a five-on-three advantage and Jordie Benn scored off a blast from the left point at the 8:05 mark to make it a 3-0 game.

“We had some pieces we had to put together [on the power play due to injuries] and I thought Colton played a real good game for us,” Ruff said. “He scored a real nice goal. He had the puck quite a bit. Down low he made some real nice plays and then Jordie got an opportunity to walk right in. We had a good net front, take the goalie’s eyes away and got another one.”

Colorado’s Francois Beauchemin scored at 10:54 of the third to cut the Dallas lead to 3-1. The Avs pulled Pickard for an extra attacker with three-and-a-half minutes remaining but Roussel scored into the empty net to push the Dallas lead to 4-1. Shawn Matthias scored for Colorado with 1:00 left to make it a 4-2 final.

And now it is onto Saturday’s regular season finale against Nashville.

“We’ve got one more tough game and the game is going to mean a lot to us,” Ruff said. “It’s an opportunity to win the division, win the conference. I think it’s something that we’ve worked hard for all year long.”


*The Stars are 8-2-0 over their past ten games.

*The Stars have allowed 17 goals over their past nine games (1.89 per game).

*The Stars outshot Colorado 31-19 and had a 65-51 advantage in shot attempts.

*John Klingberg and Antoine Roussel led the Stars with four shots on goal each.

*Klingberg led the Stars with nine shot attempts.

*The Stars were 2-5 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars are 46-48 (95.8 percent) on the penalty kill over the past 16 games.

*The Stars won 25 of 55 faceoffs (45 percent).

*Radek Faksa won 9 of 13 faceoffs (69 percent). Cody Eakin won 6 of 13 (46 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 4 of 12 (33 percent). Jason Dickinson won 1 of 7 (14 percent).

*Kris Russell led the Stars with 23:23 of ice time.


The Stars finish out the regular season Saturday when they take on the Nashville Predators at the American Airlines Center.


Jamie BennCody EakinPatrick Sharp

Valeri NichushkinJason DickinsonColton Sceviour

Antoine RousselRadek FaksaAles Hemsky

Curtis McKenzieVernon FiddlerTravis Moen


Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaStephen Johns

Kris RussellJordie Benn


Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi


Injured:
Jason Spezza (illness), Jason Demers (shoulder), Mattias Janmark (upper body), Tyler Seguin (Achilles), Patrick Eaves (mid-body), Brett Ritchie (lower body)

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak

This story was not subject to the 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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