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Back in action, Olver lifts Avs past Stars

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche were looking for a spark to get them out of their funk.

They found it from an unlikely source.

Mark Olver, back in the lineup after being scratched for seven games, had a goal and two assists, Chuck Kobasew scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period, and the Avalanche rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 Wednesday night.

Ryan O'Reilly had a goal and an assist, and Gabriel Landeskog also scored for Colorado, which stopped a four-game losing streak.

Jaromir Jagr had a goal and two assists, and Trevor Daley and Ray Whitney also had goals for Dallas.

"It's pretty disappointing," Daley said. "When you have a two-goal lead, you have to find ways to put teams away."

The Avalanche shook up their lineup in an attempt to ignite the offense. Forwards David Jones and Jamie McGinn, who have one point between them in the past nine games, were healthy scratches.

Jones, in the midst of a four-year, $16 million contract, has yet to get going this year after posting at least 20 goals in each of the previous two seasons.

"We needed to make a change," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "We had to make some changes, changes we felt would help our lineup, and that's what I did. There comes a point where you wait around for people to get the job done, and after a while, you have to make a decision, hard decisions. Those are decisions you have to make."

So Sacco turned to Olver, a healthy scratch for two weeks, and Olver figured prominently in Colorado's offense. His third goal of the season, midway through the second period, cut Dallas' lead to 2-1, and he assisted on O'Reilly's goal that made it 3-3 with 13:40 left in the third.

"I didn't want to come out; that's what I was thinking the whole game," Olver said. "Sitting on the sidelines is not fun, and it was great to come in and contribute tonight."

The tying goal set up the exciting finish for Colorado. Matt Hunwick got the puck at the point, and the defenseman skated down the boards and sent the puck on net. His shot hit Dallas defenseman Stephan Robidas in the back of the helmet and fell to the ice.

Kobasew swiped in the loose puck with 3:29 left. Had Kobasew reacted a split second later, Olver would have gotten his stick on it.

"There was a good effort by Olver to get the puck out from the boards and by Hunwick to put a shot at the net," Kobasew said. "I took a good whack at it and was fortunate to put the puck in. Unfortunate that he was hurt on the play."

Robidas' helmet broke on the shot, and he suffered a cut to the back of his head that required four stitches to close.

Losing a two-goal lead made it that much more painful.

"We played well enough to win and invented a way to lose," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said.

Landeskog scored a short-handed, unassisted goal at 13:30 of the second to tie it 2-2. It was his second short-handed tally in as many games.

Dallas got the lead back when Whitney scored on a backhand 2:26 after Landeskog's goal.

The Stars came out strong in the first, scoring two goals 4:06 apart in the first. Jagr got his 11th when his shot from the middle snuck by Semyon Varlamov. Daley followed with his third of the year to make it 2-0.

Varlamov made 29 saves to earn the win. Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped 30 shots.

NOTES: Colorado recalled defenseman Stefan Elliot from Lake Erie of the AHL on Tuesday and placed defenseman Ryan Wilson (ankle) on the injured list, retroactive to March 14. ... Jagr's 46 career points against Colorado are the most he has against a Western Conference opponent. One of the three five-point games in Jagr's career came against Colorado. With his goal in the first period, he now has an eight-game point streak against Colorado dating back to March 19, 2002, when he was with the Washington Capitals. ... Colorado has been outscored 34-19 in the first period this season. ... Colorado center Mat Duchene has 31 points in 28 games, though he didn't register a point Wednesday. Last year, he had 28 points in 58 games. ... Landeskog played in his 100th career game.
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