DENVER (AP) – Tyler Seguin got the Dallas Stars going, and plenty of his teammates joined in.
Seguin scored two early goals and the Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 7-2 on Sunday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
Brett Ritchie also had two goals, and Jason Spezza and Greg Pateryn each added one for the Stars, who haven’t lost since a 3-0 setback at Colorado on Nov. 22. Devin Shore scored short-handed into an empty net at 17:24 of the third period. Ritchie closed out the scoring seconds later with his second of the night.
“Tonight, it wasn’t just our line, it was the whole team,” Seguin said after the Stars set a season high for goals. “It’s everybody. It’s when you have guys like (Radek) Faksa who has five goals or whatever in the last few games. Not only does that give him confidence, it gives his linemates confidence, it gives everyone else confidence. It’s been a domino effect through the lineup.”
Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock likes what he’s seen during the streak.
“We are playing the right way,” he said. “We are not chasing the game up and down the ice. We aren’t gambling on 50/50 situations. We are playing smart. You play the game the right way, you give yourselves a chance to win games. That’s what we are doing.”
Blake Comeau and Mikko Rantanen had the goals for the Avalanche, who lost back-to-back home games for the first time this season.
Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson said his team made too many mistakes to be competitive against the Stars.
“We gave them everything they got tonight,” Johnson said. “We turned the puck over, we were sloppy and there’s no excuse. There’s no one to blame but ourselves for that one.
“You just have to flush it down the toilet and focus on the next one. We played horrible.”
Trailing 2-0, the Avalanche got on the board 39 seconds into the second when Nathan MacKinnon sent a cross-ice pass to Rantanen, who wristed the puck over goalie Kari Lehtonen’s glove from the left circle.
But the Stars added two goals 1:04 apart, on a shot by Spezza at 6:48 that clanged off the post, followed by Pateryn’s backhand that slipped through Jonathan Bernier’s pads at 7:52.
Bernier, who made 28 saves in Colorado’s shutout win over the Stars two weeks ago, was pulled after Pateryn’s goal in favor of Semyon Varlamov. Bernier gave up four goals on nine shots.
Colorado pulled to 4-2 when Comeau knocked in a rebound at 12:45 of the second, but the Stars soon answered with another goal. Ritchie put the puck into an open net after Varlamov drifted to the side to contest a shot from Curtis McKenzie, who corralled the rebound and sent it back to Ritchie for his first goal.
Seguin got the Stars off to a great start, scoring their first two goals in the first period. He picked up a loose puck in the Dallas zone and rushed down the ice, letting loose a backhand from in close that beat Bernier.
Seguin scored again near the end of the opening period when he deflected in John Klingberg’s shot while positioned in front of the net.
Officials waved off a Dallas goal on a coach’s challenge by Colorado at 11:34 of the second, determining after a replay review that the Stars’ Tyler Pitlick interfered with Varlamov by sliding into him. With two assists, Klingberg increased his season total to 24 points, tops among NHL defensemen. Stars C Martin Hanzal was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, retroactive to Tuesday. Stars LW Antoine Roussel was ruled out because of illness. Avalanche LW Gabriel Landeskog served the third of a four-game suspension for an illegal cross-check. The teams next meet Jan. 13 in Dallas, the last of five games this season between the Central Division foes.
Stars: Return home to host Nashville on Tuesday night.
Avalanche: Finish a five-game homestand against Buffalo on Tuesday night.
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