DENVER – Nathan MacKinnon had three assists, including one off a faceoff with a second remaining in the second period, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Wednesday night to remain nearly unbeatable at home.
Erik Johnson, Nail Yakupov and Gabriel Landeskog all scored off feeds from MacKinnon. Jonathan Bernier, starting in place of an ailing Semyon Varlamov, made 28 saves for his 15th career shutout and second against the Stars.
Bernier preserved the shutout with several key stops, including a kick save that turned away a shot by Jamie Benn in the third period.
Colorado improved to 7-1-1 at home and 7-1-0 at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche’s overtime loss Nov. 10 to the Ottawa Senators in Sweden officially counted as a home game for Colorado.
Ahead 1-0, the Avalanche tacked on another goal in a remarkable sequence near the end of the second period. MacKinnon won the faceoff with Benn, gettting the puck out to Yakupov, who was alone between the circles. Yakupov got off a powerful slap shot that rocketed past goalie Ben Bishop and into the net with a fraction of a second to spare.
Colorado added one more goal early in the third when MacKinnon picked up the puck behind the net and passed it out to Landeskog, who knocked it in as he skated across the slot.
After a scoreless first period, MacKinnon led a rush down the ice and dished the puck to Johnson, who wristed a shot from the bottom of the right circle that slid benath Bishop’s pads at 3:02 of the second.
NOTES: MacKinnon leads the Avalanche in points (25) and assists (18). ... Varlamov missed a second consecutive game because of illness. The Avalanche recalled G Andrew Hammond from Belleville of the AHL to serve as the backup goalie while Varlamov recovers. ... Dallas C Martin Hanzal remains day to day with a hand injury. ... Dallas G Mike McKenna was active as the backup to Bishop, with G Kari Lehtonen excused from the game due to personal reasons.
UP NEXTStars: Return home to host Calgary on Friday.
Avalanche: Head to Minnesota to play the Wild on Friday.