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Stars fall to Avalanche, 6-5

Avalanche continue to be trouble for Stars, especially in Denver

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars continue to have trouble with the Colorado Avalanche, especially in Denver. The Stars lost for the eighth time in their last nine games at Pepsi Center, falling 6-5 to the Avalanche Saturday night.

The Stars got off to a good start in Denver Saturday, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. But Colorado scored the next five goals to take a 5-2 lead and the Stars could never catch up, although they did make a game of it.

But in the end, the six goals against were too much to overcome.

"Obviously we are not happy with the way we played," said Stars center Tyler Seguin. "It reminds you of a couple years ago where we would try to outscore teams every night. It's the second game of the season. Lots to learn from. We've got to tidy up some neutral zone and our own zone stuff and bounce back the next game."

"We didn't do enough to win a hockey game and didn't deserve to win," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "When you score five and give up six, that is unacceptable. We've got things to clean up."

Seguin scored two goals and Benn, Devin Shore, and Brett Ritchie also scored for Dallas. Antti Niemi got the start in goal and was pulled 7:05 into the second period after allowing five goals on 20 shots.

Video: DAL Recap: Seguin scores twice as Stars lose, 6-5

"There were a couple of times there was not a lot he could do," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Niemi. "The only thing I didn't like is the puck wasn't sticking to him, some of the pucks were getting away from him, and that created the extra havoc."

Kari Lehtonen played the rest of the game in net for the Stars, allowed just one goal on 13 shots but ended up with the loss.

Joe Colborne scored three goals for the Avalanche, who won their season opener and got a victory for new head coach Jared Bednar in his NHL debut.

"'That was a fun game. It was an exciting game. I really liked it," Bednar said. ''I enjoyed being on the bench."

Both teams scored twice in a frenetic first 20 minutes. The Stars went on the power play 31 seconds into the game and cashed in when Benn got the puck to the front of the net, and Seguin scored from close range at 43 seconds of the first period. Shore made it a 2-0 game with his first NHL goal, tallying on a two-on-one rush at the 7:00 mark.

But Colorado bounced back to tie by scoring on their first two power play chances of the game. Joe Colborne scored on a wild scramble in front of Niemi at the 9:21 mark. At first, referees ruled that Stars defenseman Patrik Nemeth covered the puck in the crease and that there would be a penalty shot but after a video review, it was determined the puck crossed the goal line before Nemeth covered the puck.

Colborne struck again on the power play at the 16:25 mark, poking the rebound of an Erik Johnson shot past Niemi to tie the game 2-2.

Colorado scored three goals in the first seven minutes of the second period to open up a 5-2 lead. The Stars got caught on a bad line change early in the second, and Carl Soderberg scored on a breakaway 51 seconds in to give the Avalanche a 3-2 lead. Nathan MacKinnon scored from close range at the 6:08 mark to make it 4-2 and 57 seconds later Colborne tipped in a Nikita Zadorov shot for his third goal of the game and Colorado was up by three goals. That ended the night for Niemi, and Lehtonen took over.

"We gave up some tough opportunities in the second period," Ruff said.

And the Stars battled back to cut it to a one-goal lead before the end of the second. Benn tipped in a Seguin shot with the Stars on the power play to cut the lead to 5-3 at the 11:48 mark. Seguin scored off a blast from the top of the right circle at 16:02 of the second to pull the Stars to within 5-4.

The Avalanche came close to extending the lead twice in the third period. Andreas Martinsen hit the post on a point-blank chance, and Mikhail Grigorenko had a shot hit off both posts. Colorado did extend the lead at 13:57 of the period when a Tyson Barrie shot from the right point bounced off the skate of Stars defenseman Stephen Johns and into the net.

The Stars pulled to within 6-5 just 56 seconds later when Shore set up Ritchie, who scored from the left circle off the rush. The Stars got a late power play, but could not get the equalizer and came up short in a 6-5 game.

"We can tighten it up. There were a couple of bad breaks, and we had their last [goal] go in off Johns' skate," Ruff said. "The games are not going to be 6-5; we are a better team than that."

Notes

*Colorado outshot the Stars 33-28 and had a 59-54 advantage in shot attempts.

*Lauri Korpikoski led the Stars with 5 shots on goal.

*The Stars were 2-4 on the power play and 1-3 on the penalty kill.

*Dallas won 25 of 65 faceoffs (38 percent).

*Jamie Benn won 6 of 13 faceoffs (46 percent). Radek Faksa won 5 of 12 (42 percent). Devin Shore won 7 of 19 (37 percent). Tyler Seguin won 4 of 13 (31 percent).

*John Klingberg led the Stars with 25:56 of ice time. Dan Hamhuis was next with 22:22.

Stars Lineup

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Patrick Sharp - Jason Spezza - Jiri Hudler
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Adam Cracknell
Lauri Korpikoski - Devin Shore - Brett Ritchie

Dan Hamhuis - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi
Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Esa Lindell, Curtis McKenzie
Injured: Ales Hemsky (groin), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee)

Postgame Quotes

Lindy Ruff

Jamie Benn

Tyler Seguin

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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