DENVER -- The pressure was there in the third period and it didn’t let up. The Dallas Stars weren’t allowing the Colorado Avalanche many opportunities, they put their early penalty issues to rest, buckled down and shut the door.

This is what the Stars do when they have a lead: They almost go into extended penalty-kill mode. And after wavering in the third periods of the past two games, they played their style to perfection in the third on Saturday.

“I don’t think a coach has ever seen a perfect game, but that’s as close to a perfect road game as you can play in my mind coming into this situation,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said after their 4-1 win over the Avalanche in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round at Ball Arena.

“We knew they were going to come out guns-a-blazing in the first period. You knew their home record. You knew they had challenged their best players, their coach (Jared Bednar) did after last game. So, we knew we were going to get a lot thrown at us early in that game.  Our composure throughout the night was outstanding.”

Indeed, that composure was tested in the series’ previous games. The Stars bent in Game 2, when they were up 4-0 entering the third and held on for a 5-3 win. They broke in Game 1, up 3-0 going into the third and lost 4-3 in overtime.

“Yeah, I think our group took it personally when everyone questioned whether we could hold a lead in the third (laughs). You know, it was warranted with how the first two games went. But we knew we were better than that,” DeBoer said. “We’ve been really good in those situations all year, been great on the road all year. We just felt comfortable tonight. The details of our game tonight were outstanding.’’

The Stars lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is here on Monday (9:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, FX-CA, SN, TVAS).

Unlike the previous two games, the Avalanche’s biggest press came in the first period of Game 3, when they outshot the Stars 12-5 and had all three of their power plays. Jake Oettinger was key early in saving every shot.

“Words don’t do justice for a guy like ‘Jakey,’” said Stars forward Tyler Seguin, who scored the game-winning goal at 15:13 of the second period and an empty-net goal at 18:23 of the third. “He knows the atmosphere and the start that they were going to have. We needed him, and he always seems to rise to the occasion.”

Logan Stankoven scored the first two goals of his Stanley Cup Playoffs career, the first 18:39 into the game that gave the Stars a 1-0 lead. Mikko Rantanen scored at 10:24 of the second to tie the game at 1-1 but the Avalanche were otherwise frustrated that the opportunities they got didn’t turn into points.

“We had a couple of really good looks in the first and didn't do it. We had a couple of really good looks in the second and next thing you know, we're down by one,” Bednar said. “Just kind of feels like we push push, push and then we make one mistake and then ended up in the back of the net in the second.

“It was unfortunate, but you can’t make those mistakes against Dallas because they have the ability to … you don't need to give them a bunch of rush chances to put it in the back of the net with their skill.”

As the Stars entered this third period up 2-1, they focused on not making the mistakes of the past.

“I think (it was) just the details that we didn’t do the first two games, those defensive mindset plays that cost us some goals. We learned from it and that’s all you can do as a good team is make a mistake and learn from it,” said Oettinger, who made 28 saves. “Guys were so good in the third blocking shots, making smart plays and just played great.”

It's more tightly contested games for the Stars, who played a whole first-round series like this against the Vegas Golden Knights. They faced plenty in that one, learned plenty and are applying it in the second round, but they know there’s a long way to go.

“I think going down 0-2 at home (against Vegas) and the adversity we faced, and we believe that we can win in this room no matter what’s thrown at us,” Oettinger said. “It’s a long postseason, just one game at a time and every game feels like a new opportunity to make your mark on the postseason. We’ve had different guys step up every game. It’s going to take that to get through these guys.”

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