Colorado’s Cale Makar became the fastest defenseman in NHL history to reach 200 career assists with three in his 254th game. His first two helpers came on second-period goals by Miles Wood and Ryan Johansen after Dallas had taken a 3-0 lead.
Former Dallas player Valeri Nichushkin tied it on an unassisted goal early in the third before assisting along with Devon Toews when Rantanen put the Avalanche up 4-3.
Another former Stars player, Andrew Cogliano, made it 5-3 just 11 seconds after Rantanen scored his 11th of the season.
Tyler Seguin scored twice, and Joe Pavelski added his seventh goal to tie for the Dallas lead before the Stars faded as a season-best four-game winning streak ended.
“It was a close game all night long in my opinion,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I know the scoring was kind of early for them, late for us. I thought it was a pretty evenly played hockey game.”
Jake Oettinger allowed a season-high five goals for Dallas while making 32 saves.
Alexandar Georgiev stopped 24 of 27 shots and was perfect after Seguin's second goal just more than two minutes into the second period.
“I felt like they turned it up a notch in the third,” Dallas captain Jamie Benn said. “We let them hang around for too long. Those guys know how to win. They turned it on and found a way.”
Two of Georgiev's saves came on a 5-on-3 with Dallas still leading 3-0 in the second, and Jack Johnson blocked a shot attempt from Jason Robertson.
“They created some chances, but they're going to on the 5-on-3, especially with their power play,” Bednar said. “But we did some good things. That's a big moment in the game that allows us to try and stage any type of comeback.”
Matt Duchene had an assist in his first game against the team that drafted him since joining the Central Division rival Stars as a free agent in the offseason. The 32-year-old's four-game goal streak ended.
Makar is the fourth defenseman in franchise history to reach 200 assists. His third assist for 201 in his career came on Ross Colton's empty-net goal.
Dallas unsuccessfully challenged Wood's goal, then killed the penalty that followed. The Stars couldn't do it again when Roope Hintz was called for high-sticking less than 30 seconds later. Johansen's goal came a minute and a half into that penalty.
Nichushkin's tying goal came less than five minutes into the third, when the Avalanche outshot Dallas 15-6.
“I liked our third,” Bednar said. “I thought we did a nice job locking it down on the defensive side. We were able to capitalize on a couple of chances that we had.”
Avalanche: Play at Nashville on Monday.
Stars: The streaking Rangers (12-2-1) visit Monday in the third game on a five-game homestand, which matches the longest of the season. New York has won four straight and is 10-0-1 in its last 11 games.
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