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Dallas finally puts it all together in 5-2 rout over Colorado

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- For a team that has had its share of struggles at home this season, the Dallas Stars might have delivered their most complete performance of the season in dispatching the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 before 17,311 fans at American Airlines Center.

"I think it was probably one of our most complete games that we've played," Stars center Cody Eakin said. "We've been trying to work on 60 minutes and there were times that they came on strong, but we stood with it and I think it was one of our most complete games."

Derek Roy, Jordie Benn, Eric Nystrom, Eakin and Jaromir Jagr all scored for Dallas, which also got a 33-save performance from Kari Lehtonen. Jamie Benn finished with three assists and Dallas also got two-point performances from Jagr, Nystrom and Roy in the victory.

Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan is definitely glad to see so many of his key players contributing simultaneously for the good of the club.

"Yeah, it's crucial," Gulutzan said. "With those types of players, what you're looking for is that to come together. It's not going to be there all year, but you've got to come together at the right time."

The second-year coach also had some special praise reserved for Jamie Benn, who had his second three-point game of the season.

"Direct and with a purpose, leading the way in that regard and that's something we've talked to him about and that's something that he has done here repeatedly over the last couple weeks," was Gulutzan's assessment of Benn's performance in the win.

Colorado trailed 2-0 after one period and was down 4-1 after two, a disturbing and ongoing trend for the Avalanche.

"Yeah, we're getting scored on way too early and way too much right now. We're playing catch up all game long," Colorado center Matt Duchene said. "We haven't played with the lead in God knows how long and it's frustrating that's for sure. We can't afford to put ourselves behind the eight ball every game."

Just 34 seconds into the game, Roy gave the Stars an early lead, beating Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov with a 36-foot wrister from near the edge of the left faceoff circle for his fourth goal of the season.

After Colorado's Cody McLeod put Dallas on the power play for the first time at 9:06 of the opening period for tripping Stars captain Brenden Morrow, Dallas doubled its lead just 51 seconds later when Benn scored his first career goal at 9:57 off a rebound.

"Just cool," was how Jordie Benn characterized scoring his first NHL goal. "A dream come true, you always think about scoring a goal in the NHL and it's finally done, and hopefully, there's many more to come."

Colorado looked like it had made it a 2-1 game with 3:08 remaining before the opening intermission when P.A. Parenteau beat Lehtonen to his left with a long-range shot from the left side.

However, the goal was nullified after Jones was deemed to have interfered with Lehtonen, falling into the Dallas netminder and preventing him from using his stick on Parenteau's blast.

"Well, the call on the non-goal is a missed goal. He [the referee] is trying to find something there that's absolutely not there," an upset Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "The goaltender's out of his crease. [Jones] is not in the paint there and he calls the goal back. I don't know. If he's trying to make a call, it's for the sake of making a call. It's the wrong call."

Dallas continued its strong offensive performance into the second period, going ahead 3-0 just 58 seconds into the frame when Nystrom tapped in a rebound for his fourth goal of the season. The Stars then made it a 4-0 game at 4:37 when Eakin flipped a 15-foot wrister from the slot to Varlamov's right, which ended his night prematurely.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere then entered the game for Colorado. Jagr was credited with the secondary assist on Nystrom's goal, giving him 999 assists in his legendary career.

The Avalanche broke through when Parenteau blasted a 33-foot slap shot into an empty net. Lehtonen had been pulled over to the far post after O'Reilly took a shot from distance and the Dallas netminder wasn't able to make a play on Parenteau's shot, which made it 4-1. It was the first goal allowed by Lehtonen in 102:35.

Colorado made it 4-2 just 1:37 into the final period when Paul Statsny slipped a wrister past Lehtonen on the short side for his eighth goal of the season.

Jagr scored the final goal at 6:44 of the third for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.

Varlamov stopped 11 of the 15 shots he faced in 24:37. Giguere saved 15 of the 16 shots he faced in relief of Varlamov.

"We have to have a short memory," Duchene said. "We've got to learn from our mistakes here tonight and get ready for tomorrow. We've got to be ready for tomorrow, have to have a short memory and try and start fresh for tomorrow."

NOTES: Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog was scratched from the game with a torso injury. Landeskog, who has 11 points (6-5-11) in 18 games, missed 11 games earlier this season with a head/leg injury. ... Rookie winger Reilly Smith was the lone scratch for the Stars. ... The Avalanche was also without veteran forward Milan Hejduk, who was given Saturday's game off so that he could be fresh for Sunday's game with Vancouver. ... Dallas winger Loui Eriksson picked up his 21st assist of the season on Derek Roy's first-period goal, giving the 2011 NHL All-Star points in 12 of his past 14 games. ... Before the game, Dallas honored former defenseman Craig Ludwig, a member of the Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup championship team for being chosen to the franchise's 20th anniversary team.
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