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Seguin, Stankoven score two goals each to power Stars’ 4-1 win over Avalanche for 2-1 series lead

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DENVER (AP) — Tyler Seguin and Logan Stankoven scored two goals each and goaltender Jake Oettinger thwarted Colorado’s high-powered offense, stanching the Avalanche’s third-period comeback prowess in a 4-1 win Saturday night that gave the Dallas Stars the upper hand in their Western Conference second-round series.

“I don’t think a coach has ever seen a perfect game, but I’ll tell you that’s as close to a perfect road game as you can play, in my mind, in this situation,” Stars coach Peter DeBoer said after Dallas took a 2-1 series lead.

“We knew they going to come out guns blazing in the first period. You knew their home record. They had challenged their best players, their coach had, after the last game,” DeBoer said. “So, we knew we were going to get a lot thrown at us early in that game. And our composure throughout the night I thought was outstanding.”

The Stars have yet to play from behind in this series against Colorado’s high-octane offense led by Cale Makar, Valeri Nichushkin, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.

Dallas killed three power plays for the second straight game and Seguin scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period for a 2-1 lead that Oettinger held up — he stopped 29 of 30 shots — with a pair of empty netters in the closing minutes finally gave Dallas some breathing room.

“We knew coming into this rink, how these guys play. And we also know how we play on the road,” Seguin said. “So we knew it’d be a big challenge. I think next game is going to be a bigger challenge.”

Game 4 is Monday night at Ball Arena, where the Avalanche are now 33-10-1, including 2-1 in the playoffs. The Stars were an NHL-best 26-10-5 on the road during the season and have won three of four playoff games away from American Airlines Center.

The Avs pulled goaltender Alexander Georgiev with just under 2 minutes remaining and Seguin scored an empty-netter with 1:37 to go and Stankoven added a second empty-netter at with 28 seconds remaining.

“That was one of the best third periods we’ve played the whole postseason,” Oettinger said. “Just being smart and not taking penalties. I don’t think they had many scoring chances in the third so we learned from our mistakes in Games 1 and 2.”

The Stars regained home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series by throttling Colorado’s high-powered offense that entered the night having averaging 5 goals a game in their first seven playoff games.

Nichushkin was held scoreless for the first time in these playoffs. He was looking to become the third player in NHL history to have an eight-game goal streak during the playoffs.

The Stars took a 2-1 lead into the third period after breaking the tie on an odd-man rush with just under five minutes left in the second. Evgenii Dadonov skated down the left side and sent a pass through the slot that Seguin redirected past Georgiev, who had 19 saves on 21 shots.

The Stars led 1-0 after one period despite getting just three shots on goal in the first 18 minutes. Miro Heiskanen fed Stankoven in the slot after a turnover in the Avalanche’s zone by Devon Toews and Stankoven beat Georgiev with a wrister inside the left post with 1:21 remaining.

That snapped a nearly two-month scoring drought for Stankoven, the 21-year-old rookie who made his NHL debut with six goals in his first dozen games from Feb. 24-March 20, then went 21 games without a goal, including Dallas’ first nine playoff games.

“It’s always nice to contribute,” Stankoven said. “I feel like been doing the right things but just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

Colorado coach Jared Bednar lamented his ineffective special teams, which is 0 for 6 on the power play the last two games.

“Could have been a difference maker for us,” he said, “especially early in the game.”

Bednar had called out Rantanen and MacKinnon after Game 2 and he said he thought they both responded well even though that energy and effort didn’t produce another comeback or offensive onslaught.

Colorado’s only breakthrough came when MacKinnon stickhandled through three Stars players and lifted a backhand that Oettinger stopped. The rebound landed in the crease behind Oettinger and Rantanen tapped it in to tie it 1-all midway through the second period.

“We did a lot of great things,” MacKinnon said, “had a lot of chances, a lot of good looks, just Oettinger was great and we made a couple of big errors that cost us.”

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer

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