Makar’s 2 goals help Avs stave off elimination

NHL

DALLAS — Colorado defenseman Cale Makar scored two goals, the second after Casey Mittelstadt‘s go-ahead tally in the third period, and the Avalanche beat the top-seeded Dallas Stars 5-3 in Game 5 on Wednesday night, snapping Colorado’s three-game losing streak and extending the Western Conference second-round series.

Mittelstadt scored just 1:12 into the third period to make it 3-2, which was the first time the Avalanche had led in a game this series, except for when Miles Wood scored 11 minutes into overtime to win the opener.

Maker added an unassisted goal just over three minutes later. His shot from the middle of the right circle went through the legs of goalie Jake Oettinger and proved to be the deciding goal.

Dallas leads the series 3-2.

League MVP finalist Nathan MacKinnon scored for Colorado with 3:10 left on a lone assist from Artturi Lehkonen, whose power-play goal in the final second of the first period came with an assist from MacKinnon.

Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev had 23 saves. Oettinger stopped 22 shots.

Joe Pavelski scored his first goal of these playoffs for the Stars and registered his second assist this postseason. Miro Heiskanen and rookie Logan Stankoven also scored for Dallas, and Jason Robertson had two assists.

Game 6 is set for Friday night in Denver, where the Stars outscored the Avs 9-2 while winning Games 3 and 4. Dallas is 4-1 on the road this postseason.

This was the sixth time in franchise history that the Avs won Game 5 after falling behind 3-1 in a best-of-seven series — but they have never come back to win the series.

After going 0-for-8 on power plays while losing the previous three tilts, the Avalanche scored tying goals on both of their opportunities with a man advantage in the first two periods.

Makar got his power-play goal on a 50-foot wrister through a bunch of traffic in front of the net with 3½ minutes left in the second period to tie the score at 2-2.

Mittelstadt’s go-ahead goal came after Zach Parise hit the puck across the crease, and Mittelstadt knocked it in, a ricochet off the right post that hit the back of Oettinger’s leg and went in.

Pavelski scored on a backhander from just outside the crease after a pass from Matt Duchene midway through the first period, after Robertson had poked the puck away from Colorado defenseman Josh Manson.

After 14 games without a goal, including the last three games of the regular season, Pavelski got his 74th career playoff goal to extend his record for the most by a U.S-born player. That is also the most by any active player.

Colorado got even at 1-1 with 0.6 seconds left in the first period on Lehkonen’s slap shot from the top of the slot.

Heiskanen scored his fourth goal in this series and his fifth of the playoffs. He dropped the puck back to Pavelski, who passed ahead to Robertson, who made a move toward the right side of the net before a nifty crossing pass to Heiskanen on the other side of Georgiev.

Rantanen’s secondary assist on Makar’s first goal was his 100th career playoff point (33 goals and 67 assists). It came in his 80th career postseason game, making Rantanen only the eighth NHL player to reach that milestone in that many games or fewer. Rantanen is only the fourth player in Avalanche franchise history to reach 100 playoff points; Joe Sakic’s 188 tops that list.

It was Colorado coach Jared Bednar’s 49th playoff victory, matching Bob Hartley for the most in franchise history. Both have led the Avalanche to Stanley Cup titles, Hartley in 2001 then Bednar for their next one in 2022.

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