DENVER (AP) — Roope Hintz has found his stride. So has Anton Khudobin. So have the Dallas Stars, for that matter.
Hintz scored twice, including a short-handed goal in the second period, and the Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Friday night.
“A great win by everybody, by the team,” Khudobin said.
Hintz notched his second two-goal game of the season. And Khudobin turned back 38 shots, including one with a second remaining.
Just like that, the Stars have gone 5-1 since a dismal 1-7-1 start.
“I thought we came out and had a lot of purpose and intent to our game,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. “It was just effort. … It was a good hockey game and we were able to come away with a victory.”
Nathan MacKinnon scored a second-period goal to give him at least a point in all 13 games. It’s the longest stretch to begin a season since Henrik Zetterberg recorded a point in 17 straight for Detroit in 2007-08.
Philipp Grubauer had 27 saves as Colorado finished 0-2-1 on its three-game homestand.
“We move on and we have to make sure we get the next one,” Grubauer said.
It’s a quick turnaround with both teams playing again Saturday — Colorado in Arizona and Dallas hosting Montreal.
“Play the same way we played today,” Hintz said.
One of Khudobin’s top saves in the final period came when his right skate kept out a wrap-around try from J.T. Compher. The Stars clamped down over the final 1:35 after Colorado pulled Grubauer for an extra skater.
Grubauer kept it a one-goal game midway through the third by stopping four rapid shots down low, including three back-hand attempts by Alexander Radulov.
For Colorado coach Jared Bednar, this game got away early with the team’s “lack of focus and execution.”
“We weren’t mentally engaged in the game,” Bednar insisted. “You’re not going to win if you don’t play 60 minutes. I don’t care who it’s against.”
The Stars jumped out a 2-0 lead as they carried over the momentum from a big comeback win. On Tuesday, they scored six straight goals in a 6-3 win over Minnesota.
Hintz got his first goal of the game with 1:54 remaining in the first period when he gathered up his own rebound and lined it through the pads of Grubauer. His short-hander was early in the second as the Avalanche made a sloppy line change.
He has a team-leading nine goals.
“I don’t know if I’m doing anything different. Just trying to shoot,” Hintz said. “Today, it went in.”
MacKinnon’s power-play goal in the second made it 2-1 and arrived moments after a wild sequence. The Avalanche thought they scored when Nazem Kadri dove to knock in a puck. Just before it went in, though, Compher and Andrew Cogliano collided to knock the net off its anchor. The official ruled it a goal, only to overturn the call on replay.
Cogliano was sent to the penalty box for hooking and MacKinnon capitalized. He now has eight goals and 10 assists.
Colorado remains without captain Gabriel Landeskog (out indefinitely with a lower-body injury) and forward Mikko Rantanen (week-to-week with a lower-body ailment). Gone with those two are a combined eight goals and 11 assists.
“It’s tough,” rookie defenseman Cale Makar said. “At the end of the day, we have so much depth. I don’t think anybody’s really worried.”
NOTES: Stars D Andrej Sekera missed a second straight game after slamming into the boards behind the net last weekend. … Avs D Ryan Graves replaced Mark Barberio in the lineup. … F Colin Wilson (lower body) was a scratch. … Kadri picked up assist No. 200 in his NHL career. … Broncos pass rusher Bradley Chubb, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, was in attendance. … The Avalanche posted on their Twitter account that Landeskog’s wife gave birth to a daughter earlier in the day.
Stars: Host Montreal on Saturday and Colorado on Tuesday.
Avalanche: First of two road games Saturday in Arizona.
By PAT GRAHAM
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