Journal-Advocate (Sterling)

Avalanche stay hot, escaping Dallas on shootout goal

- By Bennett Durando

Alexandar Georgiev broke out the same celebratio­n.

One knee up, as though to stomp on the ice. And a shout of joy, just like his exaltation in New York weeks earlier when he beat his former team.

This time the stakes weren’t as personal, but the Avalanche’s second shootout of the season ended the same way as the first, with Georgiev coming out on top. Colorado defeated the Stars 3-2 on Mikko Rantanen’s shootout goal after Dallas tied it with 25 seconds left in regulation.

Colorado (11-5-1) has won seven of its last eight games and picked up the maximum six points in a threegame road trip. The team returns home to host Vancouver on Wednesday.

On a night when Cale Makar shattered an NHL record that contextual­izes his greatness and remaining potential, the Avs never trailed against the team atop the Central Division. Dallas tied it twice.

Alex Newhook gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead with 17:54 remaining in the third period. Six days earlier, the 21-year-old forward met individual­ly with coach Jared Bednar to discuss his slow start. Topics included skating and physicalit­y.

Being in the right place at the right time is a nice trait, too. Newhook calmly cleaned up a rebound on an Evan Rodrigues shot for his fourth goal of the season.

That was poised to be the game-winner until Jason Robertson scored his second goal of the night. The Dallas winger, who is on a 12-game point streak, flicked an innocent-looking wrist shot into the far-side netting as Georgiev was focused on sealing the near post with his body.

Makar combined power and needle-threading finesse as only he can for career point No. 200. On Colorado’s first power play, he sent a one-time howitzer through traffic into the side netting. He’s the first defenseman in NHL history to reach 200 in fewer than 200 games. It took him 195. The previous record holder? Hall of Famer and former Dallas Star Sergei Zubov, who needed 207 games.

“For me, it doesn’t really mean a lot individual­ly,” Makar told Altitude TV’S Kyle Keefe at first intermissi­on.

The assisting teammates were Mikko Rantanen and Artturi Lehkonen, who is on a seven-game point streak. The goal was punched in by the best defenseman in the league and manufactur­ed by the best power play unit in the league. The Avs are 20-for-58 (34.5%) with a man advantage this season.

But the Stars held firm during a pair of third-period power plays as the Avalanche

hunted for an insurance goal. On the second, the top unit stayed on the ice for the entire two-minute shift as Dallas was unable to clear the zone. Netminder Jake Oettinger kept the game within reach with a 33-save effort.

The Avs also failed to score on an overtime power play.

Robertson’s equalizer aside, Colorado’s reliable goaltendin­g traveled from the east coast to Texas, where it took a self-inflicted collision for Georgiev to finally let a puck by him. He had saved 60 consecutiv­e shots on goal dating back a week in the second period, when Avalanche defenseman Andreas Englund crosscheck­ed Robertson into the crease. Robertson skidded into Georgiev, dislodging the goal as the puck simultaneo­usly slid underneath the netminder and across the line.

Was it a goal? An interferen­ce on Robertson? A penalty on Englund? After a lengthy review, Toronto ruled that Georgiev never covered the puck and the dislodged net was caused by Englund. It was a valid, if fluky, goal.

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