Stars score 3 power-play goals in 2nd period, hold on for 7-4 win over Avalanche

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DENVER — Tyler Seguin scored twice, Thomas Harley had an assist on all three of Dallas’ power-play goals in the second period and the Western Conference-leading Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 7-4 on Sunday night.

Dallas now has 107 points, which is five ahead of both Colorado and Pacific Division-leading Vancouver for the top spot in the West. The Stars have four games remaining.

“It’s completely in our hands, which is nice,” said Matt Duchene, who had a goal against his former team. “If we take care of business, we’ll end up being where we want to be.”

Jamie Benn, Roope Hintz, Mason Marchment and Wyatt Johnston all scored for the Stars, who finished the season series 1-2-1 against the Avalanche. Jake Oettinger stopped 34 shots.

Dallas showed no signs of fatigue after a 3-2 loss to Chicago the day before. The team had to remain in Chicago until Sunday morning due to the windy conditions in Denver.

“I think both teams have had this game circled for a little bit,” Seguin said of the importance. “We’re at that time of the year where you’re just kind of watching the standings and knew the importance of tonight’s game. So, pretty good hockey game.”

Leading 5-2 in the second period, the Stars saw Colorado start a rally and made it a one-goal game with 9:45 remaining on Jonathan Drouin’s score. Johnston, though, quieted the comeback with his 31st goal of the season. Seguin added an empty-netter with 8.7 seconds left.

Sean Walker, Artturi Lehkonen and Brandon Duhaime also scored for a Colorado team that was missing Mikko Rantanen (concussion protocol). Alexandar Georgiev gave up six goals on 36 shots, two days after allowing six goals on 47 shots in a loss at Edmonton.

The Avalanche are trending the wrong direction down the home stretch, going 2-4-1 over their last seven games. Colorado remains in second place behind Dallas in the Central Division with 102 points. The Avalanche are trying to hold off Winnipeg (100 points), with the top two spots in the division earning home-ice in the first round.

“The defending breakdowns we had, we did some dumb stuff today,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “They all lead to really good scoring chances against.”

Benn absorbed penalties that allowed the Stars to go on their second-period power-play barrage. The Stars captain was hit by a high-stick from Walker that drew blood and a double-minor. Hintz and Seguin took advantage by scoring 1:20 apart. Benn later took a slash from defenseman Cale Makar that put the Stars on the man advantage again, with Marchment scoring to make it 5-2.

“That’s a different animal than some of the teams we’ve been playing,” Bednar said. “They’re a wagon. They’re deep.”

Nathan MacKinnon had two assists to give him 133 points (48 goals, 85 assists) for the season. He’s six away from matching Peter Stastny (139, 1981-82) for the most points for a season in franchise history.

Dallas came out flying in the first and outshot the Avalanche by a 9-1 margin at one point in the period. Colorado’s lone shot, though, was a goal by Walker just 1:59 into the game. Dallas responded late in the period, with Duchene and Benn scoring 2:06 apart.

Stars defenseman Esa Lindell returned to the game after suffering a lower-body injury. He had X-rays after the contest, which were negative, coach Pete DeBoer said.

“When he wakes up, I’m sure he’s going to be sore,” DeBoer said.

UP NEXT

Stars: Close out the regular season with four straight home games starting Tuesday against Buffalo.

Avalanche: Host Minnesota on Tuesday.

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

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