The Colorado Avalanche rallied from an early two-goal deficit to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 in Denver on Saturday. Semyon Varlamov was terrific in net yet again – stopping 37 shots on his way to earning his third straight win.

Varlamov set an Avalanche three-game record with 127 saves on 132 shots in the last three outings.

The Avalanche (18-16-8) penalty kill was huge – going 6-for-6 in the victory.

It was the fourth straight loss for the Stars (18-16-7).

With the win, Colorado jumped Dallas in the standings and moved within three points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“That’s what we’ve been saying the whole time,” Gabriel Landeskog said. “Without trying to stare at the standings, we are breaking it down into a few games at a time and trying to focus on a set goal that we have for the end of the season or for the last 41 games here. We’re taking it a few games at a time and trying to make the most of it. We are on a bit of a roll here and we want to just keep this thing going and keep winning.”

After falling into an early whole, the Avalanche rallied around a three-goal second period and scored four-straight times to take control of the game.

Erik Johnson – who was also selected to the All-Star Game on Saturday – took the league-lead for scoring by a defenseman with his 12th marker of the season. He is the first Avalanche defenseman to be selected to an All Star Game since Rob Blake in 2003-04.

Rookie forward Borna Rendulic registered his first career assist on Matt Duchene’s game-winning goal.

The Avalanche improved to 8-3-1 since Brad Stuart returned to the line up after missing 16 games with a hamstring injury.

“Stuart was phenomenal on those kills,” coach Patrick Roy said. “I thought he deserved a star tonight. He played so well.”

Brett Ritchie and Colton Sceviour scored in the first period to put the Stars up 2-0. Richie has three goals in six games since being called up to the NHL.

The Avalanche rode the momentum from an early second period penalty kill and played inspired hockey to take control of the game.

Johnson opened the scoring for the Avalanche at 7:18 of the second period. The 26-year-old defenseman picked up the puck in the corner and weaved his toward the front of the net before sending a backhand past Kari Lehtonen.

John Mitchell and Nathan MacKinnon added second period tallies to give the Avalanche a lead heading into the second intermission.

Matt Duchene extended the Avalanche lead to two goals with a beauty just 12 seconds into the closing frame. Duchene skated around the net with the puck, spun around in the opposite direction, and ripped a wrist shot over Lehtonen’s glove.

“That’s something that I’ve done quite a bit in my career and it doesn’t always go in, so it’s nice when it does,” Duchene said. “It was a great forecheck by [Rendulic]. He got them to turn the puck over and a nice little bump to me. I was just able to kind of take the corner and get a good shot off and fortunately, it went in.”

It was a huge win for the Avalanche as they try to make up ground in a crowded Western Conference playoff race.

“They were playing a high-tempo game. They were moving the puck really fast and I thought our guys adjusted really well,” coach Roy said. “When we start moving the puck quicker and put the puck deeper then we start generating more offense.”

The Avalanche are back in action on Monday when they visit Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

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