DALLAS (AP) — Roope Hintz had a goal in each period, getting his first career hat trick by scoring three different ways, as the Dallas Stars stepped up without Joe Pavelski to get even in their first-round series against the Minnesota Wild.
Hintz scored short-handed on Dallas’ first shot in Game 2, added a even-strength goal in the second period and then finished with a power-play goal in the third period of the Stars’ 7-3 win over the Wild on Wednesday night.
“He’s elite and he’s capable of taking over games like that. And we needed him,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. “Our team, with what happened with Pavelski the other night, a little bit rattled, we needed our our best players to step up tonight and make a statement. And they did. Every one of them, not just Roope.”
Evgenii Dadonov scored twice for the Stars, while captain Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin both had power-play goals. Miro Heiskanen, their high-scoring defenseman, had four assists, while 100-point scorer Jason Robertson had two. Hintz also had an assist.
The Dallas scoring onslaught came against three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Marc-André Fleury, who got the start even after 24-year-old Filip Gustavsson made his playoff debut with a franchise-record 51 saves in the series opener the Wild won 3-2 in double overtime.
“It’s what we do, right? We’ve done it all year,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said of the goalies who have split games most of the season. “Nothing was on Fleury tonight, it was all on us. … They had a short-handed breakaway and two power-play goals. What would you like Fleury to do?”
Game 3 is Friday night in Minnesota.
The Stars never trailed after Hintz’s breakaway short-hander just 4 1/2 minutes into the game, after Joel Kiviranta’s takeaway in the defensive end. Dallas led 2-0 midway through the first period when Seguin, in front of Fleury, redirected a long one-timer by Robertson during an extended power play.
“When you lose a player like Joe, it’s a great opportunity for other guys to step up, and I thought we did that as a group here from top to bottom,” Benn said.
Seguin started on the top line alongside Robertson and Hintz with Pavelski in concussion protocol after banging his head on the ice following a crushing blow from Matt Dumba in the second period of the series opener. Dumba was booed just about every time he touched the puck Wednesday.
Dadonov and Hintz each scored their second goals of the game in a 48-second span late in the second period for a 6-3 lead. That was the last of three pairs of quick-scoring goals in that middle period — two by the Stars that sandwiched an even-quicker scoring duo by the Wild.
Benn had his goal and an assist on Dadonov’s first score in an 87-second span that put the Stars up 4-1 and ignite the six-goal middle period.
Minnesota’s two goals in quick succession were Marcus Johansson’s short backhander on a power play, 11 seconds before Frederick Gaudreau had a similar shot past Jake Oettinger to get the Wild within one.
Oettinger, the 24-year-old who wears No. 29 after growing up a fan of Fleury, stopped 23 shots.
The 38-year-old Fleury had 24 saves in his 168th career playoff game. He had been 8-3-1 over his final 12 starts of the regular season.
“Embarrassing on my part, you know. Giving up seven goals like that in the playoffs,” Fleury said. “I want to come in and give a chance to my team in the game and win, and that’s not what I did. … Bottom line, I didn’t make any key saves in the game.”
Seguin’s power-play goal came 3 1/2 minutes after Jake Middleton got a double minor for a high stick against Max Domi, who got up with blood on his nose. Fleury withstood being peppered by four shots in the first two minutes of that power play, with Hintz getting two of those.
ALL DIFFERENT WAYS
Hintz, who has four goals in this series, is the first player with a short-handed, power-play and even-strength goal in a playoff game since Tyler Johnson did it for Tampa Bay against the New York Rangers in 2015.
There were six 10-minute misconduct penalties issues in the game’s last 5 1/2 minutes. Domi and Kaprizov got sent off first after their fight. Marcus Foligno, Brandon Duhaime and Ryan Reaves later left the ice early for the Wild, and Benn got a misconduct penalty in the final minute.
“That’s playoff hockey, a lot of emotions,” Evason said.
After Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday in Minnesota, the series will return to Dallas for Game 5 on Tuesday night.