Dec 16, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche forwards Paul Stastny (left) and Matt Duchene (9) celebrate after the game against the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

What We Learned: Avalanche - Stars

That was fun, huh?

It looked like things would get out of hand early as the Avalanche pressed in the first period, outshooting the Stars 21-10 only to see Kari Lehtonen bail his team out. That didn’t last much longer.

Once scoring with the best of them, the Avalanche started to hit that wall where nothing goes in regardless of how well you’re playing. Teams hit them from time to time and have to figure out other ways to win when they’re only scoring twice per game.

That being said, let’s get on with it and see what we learned from Monday night’s 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars.

Dec 16, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (26) scores during second period against the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome Back Pauly Walnuts

It had been nine long games since Paul Stastny had picked up a point and, boy, did he get back on it with a vengeance.

The second period belonged to Stastny. He tipped in a shot from Max Talbot around the 8:30 mark to give the Avalanche the 2-1 lead, added a second tip-in eight minutes later and then tacked on an assist on Erik Johnson’s goal with just three seconds to go. Three points in 11 minutes and a 5-1 Avalanche lead. Not a bad period.

Stastny has been one of the more noticeable disappearances of late as the Avalanche have been struggling to score goals. If they want to avoid another offensive skid like that, they’ll need more from Stastny.

Defensemen Can Score Too?

Can we check into this to see if the Avalanche broke any rules by using their defensemen to score three times last night? Based on how the season had gone so far, I didn’t think they were allowed to do such a thing.

Johnson, Andre Benoit and even Tyson Barrie all registered goals (the first of the year for Johnson and Barrie) as the Avalanche churned out a literal avalanche of goals in the final two periods. The defense managed a whopping 16(!!) shots on goal for the game and, without looking, I have to think that’s a high for the unit this year.

Obviously, no one expects that kind of output from the back end on a regular basis, but it was nice to see someone like Barrie, known for his offensive abilities, get on the board and get that first one out of the way. Benoit has been good all year and has picked up assists thanks to tip-ins and the like, but Barrie has had his struggles and it’s nice for him to grab his first of the year. Hopefully, many more to come.

Dec 16, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (center) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Where Art Thou, Power Play?

For all of the good – and it’s hard to say much was bad when you walk out with a 6-2 win – the one recurring bad theme of late has been the complete ineptitude of the power play. Remember when this was a top ten unit? Yeah, me either.

The Avalanche now sit at 25th in the league in power play efficiency at just 13.8% and posted another 0-for effort last night, failing to cash in on any of their five opportunities last night. Is it a philosophy issue? Is it a matter of pucks just not going in? How long can the funk last?

These are all questions the Avalanche need to figure out and quickly unless they want to continue their free fall down the rankings.

Next up: 12/17 @ Dallas

Ryan is the editor of Mile High Sticking as well as co-owner of The Farm Club. Follow him on Twitter to talk Avs, Sabres, hockey in general, or to let him know what a yutz he is.

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Tags: 2013-14 Season Andre Benoit Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars Erik Johnson NHL Paul Stastny Tyler Seguin

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