After six high-scoring wins, the letdown came for the Avalanche. Joe Pavelski scored twice in 19 seconds to boost the Dallas Stars 1:31 into the game and visiting Colorado never recovered in a 3-1 loss Friday night.
Cale Makar’s third-period shot with Darcy Kuemper (19 saves) pulled for the extra attacker finally beat Jake Oettinger (32 saves). Makar faked a one-timer from Gabriel Landeskog, moved slightly to his right and scored his seventh goal in five games.
“What I liked about his game tonight, especially as it went on, is you could tell he was engaged on the bench and really wanted to take control of it and try to help our team scratch and claw their way back into the game,” coach Jared Bednar said of Makar. “He’s a competitor right to the very end.
“It took him 57 minutes to get it, but he ended up getting one.”
Makar, 23, has at least one goal in five straight games, setting a franchise record for a defenseman. Teammate Erik Johnson scored in four straight games in 2014 and Sandis Ozolinsh did the same in 1996.
“For me it’s more team-based goals. I think it would feel a lot sweeter if we got the win tonight,” Makar said.
“We're still doing the right things as a team. There's no reason to get down on ourselves tonight, we just had a slow start and you learn from it. You just move on.”
Nazem Kadri won the faceoff before Makar’s goal but didn’t pick up an assist, so his point streak ended at 10 games, 6 goals and 15 helpers. The Colorado offense had generated 36 goals in the previous six straight victories.
On the first goal 1:12 into the game, Jason Robertson got through to Pavelski, who had a step on defender Jack Johnson and tapped in an easy one at the back door. Pavelski then took advantage when the Avalanche couldn’t clear their zone and scored through a screen from Erik Johnson.
Pavelski’s hat trick bid slid just past the post early in the second period. Denis Gurianov scored on the Stars’ third power play of the middle frame. Miro Heiskanen’s shot went off Jack Johnson and bounced around in front of Kuemper before Gurianov pushed the lead to 3-0.
“I thought we were passing up on some shots. They did a lot of just grab it and throw it to the net and get to those hard areas, and battle off the walls,” Bednar said. “We needed a little bit more of that in our game.”
The Avalanche – outshot badly in the first period before taking a narrow lead in the second – had a 20-1 edge in shots on goal in the third period with only Makar’s goal to show for it. Landeskog took several whacks at the puck in close. Andre Burakovsky was inches away on a wraparound bid but put the puck into the side of the net.
"We weren’t ready to start the game on time, for me,” Bednar said. “I just think they came out with a lot of jump and were more competitive early in that game.
"We were lucky it was only two goals, but two is enough."
The Avalanche are set to host the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.