DENVER – Paul Stastny was slumping and frustrated with his scoring drought.
Facing the Dallas Stars helped clear that up for the Colorado Avalanche center.
Stastny scored twice and added two assists and the Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Monday night.
Erik Johnson and Andre Benoit also scored in a four-goal second period, and Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie scored for Colorado.
Stastny hadn’t notched a point since Nov. 19, when he had a goal and assist against Chicago. The scoring drought grew to nine games before he put together one of his best periods of his career.
“I always put pressure on myself,” Stastny said. “Of anyone I was probably the most frustrated. Whether I show it or not, you guys won’t see it.”
It was a familiar feeling for Stastny, who had a two-goal game against the Stars on Nov. 1.
His breakout couldn’t have come at a better time for him or his team, which has struggled to score lately.
“I feel like that, especially for Stast,” said forward P.A. Parenteau, who tied a career high with three assists.
“We were on the puck the last few games and couldn’t get it done. The confidence was low for a couple of guys and it’s tough on you. You’re playing decent hockey and you’re not rewarded.”
Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist and Kevin Connauton scored his first NHL goal for the Stars, who have dropped three of the past four.
Goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped 42 shots for Dallas in a rare poor start against Colorado. Lehtonen was 8-3-2 with a 2.52 goals-against average against the Avalanche before Monday.
Colorado outshot Dallas 21-10 in the first period, but managed just one goal against Lehtonen. It was a different story in the second.
Stastny broke a 1-1 tie when he knocked in Jamie McGinn’s tip pass 8:29 into the period for his ninth goal of the season. Benoit made it 3-1 when he pinched in from the blue line and blasted a shot through traffic past Lehtonen.
Stastny scored again when he tipped a shot by Gabriel Landeskog in front of the net, and Johnson finished the run with a shot from the top of the right circle with 3 seconds left in the period to increase the lead to 5-1.
Seguin scored early in the third, but Barrie’s first goal of the season on Stastny’s second assist made it 6-2.
It was more than enough for the Avalanche, who improved to 3-0 against the Stars this season.
Penguins 3, Maple Leafs 1
In Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby’s 19th goal of the season broke a tie with just over 6 minutes remaining and the Penguins edged Toronto.
Crosby took a centering pass from Pascal Dupuis and beat the Maple Leafs’ Jonathan Bernier to the stick side to boost his point total to a league-leading 47.
Chris Conner and Brandon Sutter also scored for the Penguins.
Senators 3, Blues 2 (OT)
In Ottawa, Cody Ceci scored his first NHL goal in overtime and the hosts beat St. Louis.
Ceci recovered a clearing attempt by the Blues and sent a wrist shot toward the St. Louis goal that beat Brian Elliott at 3:59 of the extra period.
Jets 3, Blue Jackets 2
In Columbus, Evander Kane returned from an injury to score a goal and add an assist, leading Winnipeg over the Blue Jackets.
Mark Scheifele and Bryan Little also had goals for the Jets, with Al Montoya making 22 saves.