Tyler Seguin did it all for the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. He tallied the game-winning goal, had an assist, matched up against Colorado's top players, killed penalties, and he dropped the gloves and fought as the Stars defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1, at American Airlines Center.
Seguin's fight - the first of his NHL career - came against former teammate Patrik Nemeth in the third period and gave him a Gordie Howe hat trick - a goal, an assist, and a fight - on the night.
"A couple of shoves and he kind of dropped them," Seguin said. "Just two guys competing."
Seguin's willingness to scrap drew rave reviews from his teammates.
"I like it when he steps up and does something like that," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "I told him after the game it feels good when all of his teammates are coming up to him and tapping him on the kneepad or shoulder. We all respect a good fight especially from someone who doesn't fight often."
"We were fired up to see Seggy do that," said Stars forward Devin Shore. "It gave us a boost, and that's the kind of culture we are trying to build in here, guys who care about each other and would go through the wall for each other."
Video: COL@DAL: Seguin sweeps home Shore's dish for PPG
Seguin's overall performance in the game drew high praise from his coach.
"This is what a [number one center] has to do," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock. "The big thing for me was he did all those things against the other team's best players. He played against the best players, he was a plus-player in the game, he stood up and fought. He did everything we wanted him to do."
The win was the second in five games for the Stars (2-3-0) on the season and gave Hitchcock 783 wins in his NHL coaching career, moving him into third all-time on the NHL coaching wins list. Only Scotty Bowman (1,284) and Joel Quenneville (855) have more.
Benn had one goal and one assist for the Stars, Esa Lindell scored one goal, and Devin Shore chipped in two assists. Ben Bishop stopped 22 of 23 shots to pick up his 150th career win.
"It was a good two points for us," said Seguin. "A good bounce-back game for us. We've got to keep it rolling here."
Semyon Varlamov stopped 33 of 35 shots, and Matt Duchene scored the lone goal for the Avalanche who had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 4-2-0 on the season.
"We're not going to make any excuses, but I didn't like the way we skated in the first two periods," said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar whose team played the night before. "Not just the way we skated, but our energy was down. We just weren't as competitive with the puck as we were in previous games."
The Stars outshot the Avalanche 14-4 and had a 30-9 advantage in shot attempts in a scoreless first period. Both teams had one power play, and neither got a shot on goal. The Stars had the best chance, but Shore's shot from the slot hit the crossbar. The Stars had a flurry of chances late in the period, but Varlamov made a series of good save including one on a point-blank bid by Antoine Roussel.
The Stars took a 1-0 lead just 24 seconds into the second period. After a Colorado turnover, Benn scored on a two-on-one rush to give the Stars the lead. The Stars had a great chance to extend the lead with 1:26 of five on three power play time later in the period but couldn't take advantage.
Video: Seguin records Gordie Howe hat trick
Bishop came up big to keep it a 1-0 game at 12:34 of the second, turning away a point-blank backhand bid by Avalanche forward J.T. Compher. The Stars stopped two Colorado power plays - not allowing a shot on either - and then cashed in on a power play late in the second to extend the lead to 2-0. Shore made a nice backhand pass across the crease to Seguin who scored from the left circle with one second left in the period.
"When Shore got it to me, I was just trying to get it off as fast as I could," Seguin said. "Heck of a pass, especially when he knows the period is about to end."
Colorado cut into the Dallas lead early in the third when Duchene scored from the left circle with a delayed penalty call on Dallas. That made it a 2-1 game with 18:34 remaining.
A couple of minutes later there were the Seguin-Nemeth fireworks. Just after Benn and Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov got into a scrum, Seguin and Nemeth dropped the gloves.
"I didn't even realize it was a Gordie Howe hat trick until they said it after the three stars," Seguin said. "So, that's a first. Might hashtag it tonight."
Colorado got one more crack on the power play but couldn't get the game-tying goal. Lindell sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 39 seconds left to make it a 3-1 final.
The Stars improved to 2-1-0 at home this season.
The Stars are now 1-2-0 within the Central Division.
The Stars outshot the Avalanche 36-23 and had a 69-42 advantage in shot attempts.
Tyler Seguin led the Stars with seven shots on goal and 12 shot attempts.
The Stars were 1-6 on the power play and have scored on the power play in all five games this season.
The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill.
The Stars won 36 of 69 faceoffs (52 percent). Martin Hanzal won 10 of 17 (59 percent). Jamie Benn won 7 of 11 (64 percent). Tyler Seguin won 10 of 20 (percent).
Benn led the Stars with 22:02 of ice time.
The Stars host Arizona on Tuesday. It will be the first game of a home-and-home series between the two teams who play at Arizona on Thursday.
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie
Remi Elie - Martin Hanzal - Devin Shore
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Marc Methot - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Stephen Johns
Esa Lindell - Julius Honka
Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Greg Pateryn, Gemel Smith
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.