DENVER — Stars defenceman John Klingberg wanted to catch the goalie off guard as he led a 3-on-1 rush in overtime.
So, he wound up — and his slap shot did just that, fooling Calvin Pickard.
Klingberg scored 35 seconds into OT, Antti Niemi stopped a pivotal penalty shot in the third period and Dallas snapped an eight-game skid against Colorado, beating the Avalanche 4-3 on Thursday night.
“He thought I was going to pass it so I think I surprised him,” Klingberg said.
After the game, Colorado coach Patrick Roy defended his goalie when someone asked why Pickard seemed upset in the locker room.
“Why would he be upset? Why? He was phenomenal,” Roy said. “There’s no reason for him to be upset. Come on. We gave up a 3-on-1 in overtime. Are you kidding me? That cannot happen. He has no reason to be upset.”
The Stars won a game they largely dominated. They outshot the Avalanche by a 44-24 margin. They’ve now outshot Colorado 120-67 this season but are only 1-2 against the Avs.
“It’s been almost the same song every time we play,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “This game, we pushed through.”
It might have proven costly, though, because Dallas lost Jason Spezza to an upper-body injury in the second period. Ruff thought Spezza could be out for “a little bit of time.”
“I’m going to say it’s more than a few days,” Ruff said.
Spezza and Ales Hemsky each had a goal for the Stars, who won in Denver for the first time since Feb. 4, 2013.
“Felt good to end the streak today,” Klingberg said.
Up a goal early in the third period, Colorado had a chance to gain some separation when MacKinnon was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked by Klingberg on a breakaway. Niemi came up with a big save by deflecting MacKinnon’s shot with his shoulder.
“Huge,” Ruff said.
Pickard made his fourth straight start with Semyon Varlamov out. Varlamov has won 10 consecutive games against Dallas, but is rounding back into form after spending a week in court dealing with a civil lawsuit that recently wrapped up in his favour.
Varlamov is expected to start Saturday night against Winnipeg.
“We need to play better defensively, better decisions,” Roy said. “We’re lucky we have a point tonight, quite honestly.”
Soderberg gave Colorado a 3-2 lead at the 17-minute mark of the second period after taking a no-look pass from Comeau and sending a shot over Niemi’s shoulder. The Avalanche nearly got another goal 36 seconds later when Zach Redmond sent one in from the blue line. But the Stars challenged the play, arguing Niemi was interfered with when forward Andreas Martinsen toppled over the goalie.
After a replay review, officials ruled no goal.
The Stars got a little bloodied and bruised in the second period. Mattias Janmark took a big hit and was spitting out blood near the blue line, but remained in the game.
Moments later, Hemsky scored to tie the game at 2 on a shot over the glove of Pickard. Just after unleashing his shot, Hemsky fell to the ice and slid hard into the boards.
“Thought we could’ve got some calls tonight,” Ruff said. “We had two or three times, guys got hit with high sticks and bleeding on the bench.
“It was a gutsy win.”
Dallas got off to a fast start, with Spezza scoring on a no-look pass from Patrick Eaves 1:31 into the game. The Avalanche quickly responded on goals from Comeau and Holden 3:09 apart.
Holden’s goal was set up by MacKinnon, who was playing in his 200th NHL game.
NOTES: Stars defenceman Jordie Benn (lower-body injury) played in his first game since Jan. 16. … Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla had an assist, his first point since scoring a goal on Jan. 18. … It was Iginla’s 1,446th NHL game, tying Tim Horton for 23rd place. … It was MacKinnon’s first career penalty shot and the first attempt by an Avalanche player since Jan. 18, 2011.