Grubauer's 44 saves help Avalanche overcome Stars 3-1

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth (12) watches as goalie Philipp Grubauer (31) blocks a shot during the third period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)
Colorado Avalanche's Colin Wilson (22) and Carl Soderberg (34) celebrate with teammates after defenseman Erik Johnson scoresd a goal during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)
Colorado Avalanche center Derick Brassard celebrates a goal by defenseman Erik Johnson during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov (1) congratulates goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) after the team's NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Thursday, March 21, 2019. Colorado won 3-1. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)
Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop (30) reacts after Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson scored a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)
Colorado Avalanche left wing Matt Calvert (11) skates with the puck in front of Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)
Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14), Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6), and Stars center Jason Dickinson (16) fight for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

DALLAS — Philipp Grubauer was spectacularly stubborn in goal on a night when Colorado's defense got in on the offense.

Grubauer made a career-high 44 saves, including 23 in the third period, and defensemen Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie scored to help the Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Thursday night.

The Colorado goalie has allowed just two goals while facing 104 shots and carrying the Avalanche on a three-game winning streak that has vaulted Colorado into the Western Conference playoff picture.

"Over the last couple games, just take it chance by chance and situation by situation," Grubauer said. "Read the game, scan who's on the ice. Scan where they come from. Read where the puck is going. Just simplify it."

Colorado coach Jared Bednar said Grubauer was the difference against Dallas.

"We get a great goaltending performance from Grubauer and it's enough to win," Bednar said. "But I thought first 40 minutes especially, we did a lot of good things, and our guys are having fun right now. They want it, obviously you can see that."

Carl Soderberg added an empty-net goal with 49 seconds left for the final margin, helping the Avalanche leapfrog idle Minnesota for eighth place in the conference standings. Colorado took a deep tiebreaker lead over Arizona, which lost Thursday, for the second wild card. Colorado and Arizona have 78 points each, and the Avalanche currently would advance based on a better goal differential. The Coyotes will play at Colorado on March 29.

Tyler Seguin scored the lone goal for Dallas with 5:01 to play. Ben Bishop made 29 saves, but his personal winning streak ended at six games.

"I did think Colorado's desperation in the first period was above ours," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "In the second period, I thought it was even, and then in the third I thought our desperation exceeded theirs."

Even though the Stars are 1-2-1 in the first four games of a homestand, Montgomery insisted his team is on the right track.

"We're going to end up on the right side of the scoresheet if we keep playing this way," he said.

Dallas retained the first wild card by a four-point margin, but fell four points behind third-place St. Louis in the Central Division.

Colorado outshot the Stars 13-9 in the first period.

Momentum shifted in Dallas' direction in the second period - until the Avalanche scored at 17:20. Samuel Girard sent a pass to Johnson high in the left faceoff circle. Johnson one-timed a slap shot inside the left goalpost.

"I was ready for it," Bishop said. "He's just got kind of a heavy shot and just got on me quick. Maybe one I'd like to have back, but it was a pretty good shot."

After two periods, the shots were even at 21.

Barrie scored at 5:19 of the third, sending a wrist shot from the top of the right circle in off the left post.

"Creating offense is a five-man job," Bednar said, "so we need the help from our (defense) and we got it tonight. Tyson Barrie seems to have caught fire here a little bit."

Barrie has scored four of his 11 goals in the last three games.

Seguin, frustrated by Grubauer on close-in shots, finally scored from the outside edge of the right circle.

"I thought we all played pretty good," Bishop said. "I thought Grubauer played excellent and kind of stole the game."

NOTES: Johnson's goal, his first in 20 games, came on his 31st birthday. ... Barrie's goal was his 300th career point. ... Colorado acquired Grubauer in a trade with Washington completed during the 2018 NHL draft at the American Airlines Center, the Stars' home ice. ... Seguin's 28th goal ended a nine-game drought. He had 10 shots on goal. MacKinnon and Dallas captain Jamie Benn each had nine.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Return home Saturday for the first game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series with Chicago.

Stars: Complete a five-game homestand against Pittsburgh on Saturday before taking a four-game trip to western Canada.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Must Read

Developments in the saga of the American swimmers in Brazil

Aug 20, 2016

The saga of American swimmer Ryan Lochte and three teammates has produced a head-spinning series of...

UN: Thousands of Central American children seek to enter US

Aug 23, 2016

UN children's agency says thousands of children trying to escape gang violence and poverty in...

Soldier who killed 5 Dallas officers showed PTSD symptoms

Aug 25, 2016

The Army reservist who killed five Dallas police officers last month showed symptoms of...

Scams & waste loom as charity millions donated after Orlando

Aug 28, 2016

The more than 430 fundraisers posted on the GoFundMe website after the mass shooting at an Orlando...

Liz Weston: 5 money myths you probably believe

Aug 29, 2016

Don't let widely held myths pull the rug out from under your finances

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH