Miro Heiskanen scores 2 power-play goals and Stars beat Avs 5-3 in Game 2 to even series

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DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Stars built another multi-goal lead against high-scoring Colorado. This time, they held on to win and avoid another 0-2 hole in the NHL playoffs.

“Found a way to win the game, and that’s the most important thing,” Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen said.

Heiskanen scored two power-play goals, Roope Hintz had a goal and three assists and the Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 in Game 2 on Thursday night to even the second-round Western Conference series.

Tyler Seguin got his first goal this postseason on a short-hander at the end of a 3-on-1 breakaway that put the Stars up 4-0 late in the second period. Esa Lindell added an empty-netter with 20 seconds left, with Hintz getting his final assist.

Jake Oettinger had 28 saves against a Colorado team that led the NHL in scoring during the regular season and is averaging an NHL-high 5.0 goals this postseason.

Joel Kiviranta, Brandon Duhaime and Valeri Nichushkin scored in the third period for the Avalanche, but they failed to score on a power play in the final three minutes that was partly a 6-on-4 after goalie Alexander Georgiev skated to the bench.

“Obviously, I think we can handle those situations better. But I think that the silver lining is that we built 3-0 and 4-0 leads, so we’ve played some very good hockey for long stretches against them,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “I thought tonight was better than Game 1. We did most of the things that we wanted to do tonight. Building that lead, the right guys scored, got on the board for us.”

Game 3 is Saturday night in Denver.

Colorado had an extra attacker with 3:44 left when Nichushkin got a goal on a puck that ricocheted off his right leg. He has scored in all seven games, matching Pat LaFontaine’s NHL record set in 1992 with Buffalo for the longest goal streak to start a single postseason. It also equaled the franchise’s overall postseason goal streak with Claude Lemieux and Joe Sakic.

The Avs had also trailed 3-0 in the first period of Game 1 two nights earlier before coming back to win 4-3 in overtime, and extend their postseason winning streak to five games. That was the third time this season they rebounded from a multigoal deficit to win in Dallas.

They came up short this time when hurt by some self-induced penalties and going 0 for 3 on power plays. Of their six penalties, they had two for delay of game after knocking pucks into the stands, and two more for too many men on the ice.

“The second period for me is when it fell part. Just not sharp,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “Then we turn around in the third and go to work, and that’s what happens.”

Hintz, whose only previous point this postseason had been an empty-net goal in Game 4 of the opening series against Vegas, put Dallas up 2-0 less than two minutes into the second period. That came after the Avalanche had failed to score on a power play that carried over from the end of the first period, when Oettinger made a couple of impressive stops, with a glove save after Nichushkin’s close backhanded swipe at a rebound.

It also was soon after Miles Wood, who scored in overtime for Colorado in Game 1, had a shot blocked by Oettinger and the Stars took the puck the other way. Hintz was to the left of Alexander Georgiev when he got a cross-ice pass from Nils Lundkvist.

Georgiev stopped 26 shots.

Dallas, which in the first round against Vegas lost the first two games at home before winning the series in Game 7, led 3-0 with four minutes left in the second period Thursday when captain Jamie Benn and Hintz had assists as Heiskanen scored with a shot off an Avs stick.

Benn was called for a major penalty a few minutes before that for a big hit that leveled defenseman Devon Toews behind the Colorado net. But officials reviewed the play and didn’t call any penalty after replay showed a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Toews left the game briefly, but returned before the end of the second period.

“It’s a physical game, it’s a physical player. … I don’t want to say. I mean, does he catch a piece of his shoulder? Yeah. I guess you could argue that, but the target is high and it’s at his head, and it makes contact with the head,” Bednar said. “I’ve seen many times guys get called for the head shot penalty with a lot less than that, but I guess they didn’t think so. And this time of the year you’ve got to play through some of that stuff.”

Hintz was serving a holding penalty when Seguin got his first short-hander in his 123rd playoff game to make it 4-0.

League MVP finalist Nathan MacKinnon had the first delay of game penalty against Colorado, knocking the puck out of his own zone. Dallas capitalized, going up 1-0 after a circle-to-circle pass from Hintz to Heiskanen with 5:14 left in the first period.

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AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

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