Mar 23, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) and center Cody Eakin (20) celebrate the goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Stars defeat Avs, bounce back up to playoff contention

In their final meeting of the regular season, the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 to regain eighth place in the Western Conference. The victory was especially significant following last Wednesday’s 4-3 loss in Denver, and showcasing a potential change in the tide of remaining home games for the Stars.

Saturday’s game literally started out with a bang, or rather a goal horn. Just 34 seconds into the game, Derek Roy stole the puck from Colorado’s David Jones and launched a slapshot at Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov, giving the Stars the lead before the first minute of the game could be recorded. Halfway through the same period, Jordie Benn recovered a rebound off a shot from Roy while the Stars were on the power play, and snuck a backhanded shot behind Varlamov, scoring the first NHL goal of his career. The Stars headed into the first intermission up 2-0.

The second period started much the same as the first, with Eric Nystrom snagging a rebound off a Jamie Benn shot, landing the third goal of the night and his fourth of the season. Jagr was also credited with an assist, bumping his all-time total for assists to 999. Less than four minutes later, Cody Eakin put yet another wrist shot behind Varlamov, prompting the Avs to switch up goaltenders. Jean-Sebastien Giguere took Varlamov’s place between the pipes for the remainder of the game. Colorado wouldn’t go down without a fight though, and with the Avs up a man and just a minute remaining in the second period, PA Parenteau landed a slap shot behind Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, stealing the Stars’ opportunity for a second shutout in a row.

Unlike the previous two periods, the Stars didn’t hit the ice with a bang, but Colorado did. Less than two minutes into the final frame, Colorado’s Paul Stastny beat Lehtonen’s glove with a powerful wrist shot, closing the Stars lead to 4-2. The Stars refused to have a repeat of Wednesday though, and played strong through the next five minutes until Jaromir Jagr could give the team the safety net needed to ensure a repeat would not happen. Jagr, off a behind-the-net pass from Jamie Benn, snuck a wrap-around goal behind Giguere, tallying what would be the final goal of the game.

The win put the Stars back in eighth place in the Western Conference, but a battle still rages. Without the same dedication and endurance the Stars showed Saturday night, the playoffs may be just another pipe dream.

Next up for the Stars is a pair of games against the Minnesota Wild. The first game is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center, and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest.


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Tags: Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars Hockey NHL

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