Sports

Makar scores 2 goals and Avalanche beat Stars 5-3 in Game 5 to stay alive in playoffs

DALLAS — (AP) — Colorado finally got to play with the lead against the Dallas Stars, though the Avalanche are still behind in the series.

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar scored two goals, the second after Casey Mittelstadt’s go-ahead tally in the third period, and they beat top-seeded Dallas 5-3 in Game 5 on Wednesday night. The Avs snapped their three-game losing streak and extended the second-round Western Conference series.

“Obviously a do-or-die game from here on out in the series,” Makar said. “Each of us, we feed off each other. ... And I felt like we were back to kind of like forcing their hand tonight.”

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

“It was great,” league MVP finalist Nathan MacKinnon said about playing with a lead. “They didn’t do that much, but anytime we can get a lead it’s important so we’re not chasing all series.”

Makar made it 4-2 with 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, and MacKinnon scored on a lone assist from Artturi Lehkonen with 3:10 left.

MacKinnon also had the only assist on Lehkonen's power-play goal in the very last second of the first period.

“We knew we were going to get their best game in the series, and they did,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “Their big guys all are on the scoresheet tonight, which we’ve probably anticipated would happen.”

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

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

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

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. They have never come back to win the series.

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

“I felt like once we were getting pucks, it was right on and off the stick, and trying to avoid a little bit of the pressure,” Makar said, when asked what changed in Game 5. “Having that different mentality, an attack mentality, and not trying to back down or trying to look for the perfect play.”

Makar got his power-play goal on a 50-foot wrister through a bunch of traffic in front of the net with 3 1/2 minutes left in the second period to tie the game at 2-2.

“Tough-go for a handful of games ... it’s a huge response after goal one, after goal two,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said.

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 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.

“You’ve got to get out of the period there,” DeBoer said.

Heiskanen scored his fourth goal in this series, and his fifth of the playoffs, put Dallas up 2-1 in the second. 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 on a power play.

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

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

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

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