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Game 52 Recap: Avalanche shine in Dallas, take it 4-3

The Avs hit Dallas, playing a red-hot Stars for the fifth and final time this season.

Tom Pennington

The two teams were a little choppy to start, but 1:40 into the game, Tyson Barrie sent an easy wrister on net. The rebound came right out to Maxime Talbot, who did a between-the-legs pass to Nathan MacKinnon. Nate showed yet another reason why he went first overall by flipping a sneaky backhander behind Kari Lehtonen to put the Colorado Avalanche up early on the Dallas Stars.

As would be expected from these two fast teams, play screamed up and down the ice with both sides getting opportunities. Avs controlled the first 6 minutes of play. The Stars pushed the pace of the next 6. Sharp play by Semyon Varlamov and Lehtonen continued to keep the rubber out of both nets.

With just under five minutes left in the first, Jaime McGinn cashed in once again from being on a line with Ryan O`Reilly and Matt Duchene. The three players crashed the net, and Duchene floated a puck while on the move to McGinn, who was cruising right into the slot. McGinn's first shot bounced off Lehtonen's pad, but Fatty didn't miss his second chance and hit twine to put the good guys up two to zip. Fun fact: In one period, the Avs scored more goals against the Stars than Dallas had allowed in the last three games combined.

But the Stars weren't okay with the action all being about the Avs. Jaime Benn buried a gorgeous goal off of a pass from Tyler Seguin, splitting the lead in half. Just about two minute later, John Mitchell took a hooking penalty as he tried to slow down the Stars' action behind the net. However, straight off on the face off, Erik Cole held up Talbot  on the face off and got himself an interference penalty. The final thirty seconds were four-on-four, but nobody scored. First frame ended two to one Avalanche.

The second period started with some more four-on-four, but Nick Holden got his stick under the skates of Seguin and put the Stars on the unusual 4-on-3. It proved to be advantageous. Slick puck movement criss-crossing the Avs' zone ended up on Seguin's stick, who lifted the puck just over Varlamov's pads, tying the game at two. The Stars continued their attack as Cole's penalty ticked away, leaving just Holden in the box for 50ish seconds. SIDE NOTE: Roy looked PISSED about Holden's penalty. #bodylanguage

The Avs were successful on the remaining PK, but momentum was all on Dallas's side until Antoine Roussel got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for going after O'Reilly. It was the result of an unfortunate collision at the blueline, to which the Stars player took exception. In real time, it did look like O'Reilly might've taken some liberties, but the slow mo clearly showed it was incidental. Unfortunately, the Avs weren't nearly as successful on the PP as their opponent, giving up a number of short-handed chances, including a breakaway, while not generated much themselves.

The next 15 minutes was filled with crazy chances and crazier saves. I can only imagine the aneurysm Moser was having. In addition to speed and offense, the game took on a ball-busting physicality that had anger bubbling just below the surface. While there wasn't much posturing, there were hits that were designed to hurt. Many an ice pack would be used tonight.

What looked to be Duchene finally getting a call for being mauled was actually a Too Many Men penalty against the Stars. Ray Whitney sat while the Avs went on the power play. After some hard work and missed chances, Paul Stastny got his fifth goal in five games against the Dallas Stars. He used is strength to fight his way to the crease and backhanded one home.

Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived as Dallas came right back to tie it up at 3 on a shot that sneaked through Varly's arm. It is one he certainly wants back. The middle frame ended with a clean slate as the score was tied at three.

Two minutes into the third, Nate Guenin got nabbed for holding, putting the Stars on their third power play of the game. Fortunately, the Avs kept them off the board and then brought the puck down to get the go-ahead goal. Tanguay picked up the biscuit at the left face off dot and sent it into the crease. Rather than connecting with Stastny, the puck bounced off Sergei Gonchar and behind Lehtonen.

With just over ten minutes left in the third period, Patrick Bordeleau sent the puck over the glass to get a delay of game penalty. Even worse, a fan got nailed by it. Ouchie. A combination of aggressive killers and stellar goaltending kept the score at 4-3, however.

With four minutes left in the third, the Stars really started throwing everything plus the kitchen sink at Varly. Dallas played with an empty net for the final minute of the period. Mitchell negated an icing to keep the play moving and out of the Avs' zone. The final buzzer sounded with the Avs taking the game 4 to 3.

MHH Three Stars

1. Semyon Varlamov
2. Paul Stastny
3. Maxime Talbot

Quick Hits

- MacKinnon averages two minutes less than Duchene and Landeskog and three minutes less than O'Reilly, but he's still in the same conversation in points this season

- Varlamov tied his career-high with his 26th win

- Stars doubled up on the Avs on shots, 44 to 21