NHL Game Summary - Dallas at Colorado
(Wednesday, October 3rd)
Final Score: Colorado 4, Dallas 3
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Paul Stastny recorded his first hat trick, scoring Colorado's first three goals, as the Avalanche opened their season by holding on for a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars.
Andrew Brunette had three assists for the Avalanche, who snapped a seven-game skid against the Stars. Peter Budaj made 31 saves, including some key stops in the final moments despite giving up two goals in the third period.
"I've played with him since the end of last year a little bit," Stastny said of his ice time with Brunette. "It's not that hard. He's a good player and we read well off each other. We just keep moving the puck and keeping it simple."
Wojtek Wolski also scored and Jaroslav Hlinka recorded a pair of assists in his first NHL game, as Colorado won for the 12th time in its last 16 home openers.
The Avalanche had their streak of 11 straight playoff berths snapped last season despite going 15-2-2 over their final 19 games, missing the playoffs by just one point.
Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen and Niklas Hagman scored for the Stars, who had a 10-game unbeaten streak on opening night broken.
Marty Turco made 19 saves for Dallas, which lost in seven games to Vancouver in the first round last season.
"We're going to need better goaltending than that," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "He made some good saves, but he just has to do better than that."
Jokinen scored on a second try from in front on the power play with 12:22 remaining for a 4-2 margin, and it became a one-goal game with 2:50 left on Hagman's power play tally. Hagman sent the puck from behind the net on the right side in front and it deflected off a defenseman's skate in the crease and past Budaj.
The Stars pulled Turco for the final minute and Budaj had to make a pad save on a shot from the right circle. Budaj then made a glove save on Halpern's shot from the right circle in the final seconds.
Stastny scored with 1:49 left in the opening period as he snapped a wrister from above the left circle, beating Turco under his armpit.
It became 2-0 just 63 seconds into the second period, as Stastny scored from the right side of the net after a backhand pass from behind the end line on the same side from Brunette.
Halpern lit the lamp by deflecting Trevor Daley's blast from the high slot past Budaj.
Jokinen hit the post midway through the second, and the Avalanche scored twice in a span of 5:40 later in the period. Hlinka passed the puck from the right circle to Stastny, who streaked to the left side of the net to deflect the puck past an out-of-position Turco.
It became 4-1 with 3:05 left in the period when Wolski scored on a shot from the left circle.
Dallas had won four straight in Denver...The Avalanche improved to 20-4-4 (4 ties) all-time in home openers...Since moving to Texas prior to the 1993-94 season, the Stars have gone 8-2-4 (4 ties) in their 14 season-opening games...Colorado owns a 16-5-7 (7 ties) all-time record on opening night, best in the NHL...Dallas' 10-game unbeaten streak was the longest active streak and tied for the third longest unbeaten streak on opening night in NHL history. The Montreal Canadiens hold that record going unbeaten in 17 straight openers from 1963-79...Dallas captain Brenden Morrow hurt his nose on a check behind the Avalanche net in the first period and came back wearing a face guard in the second...This was the first hat trick of a season opener for the Colorado franchise since October 4, 1983 (Dale Hunter vs. the New York Islanders) when the team was located in Quebec.
10/04 00:25:01 ET