DALLAS — On one side of Roope Hintz on the Dallas Stars’ top line is one of the all-time great scorers in a single season in franchise history. On the other side of Hintz is a future Hockey Hall of Famer, one of the best agents of chaos in front of the crease. If Hintz was in the shadows of his line mates in terms of notoriety, he’s breaking out in the biggest of ways and on the biggest of stages.
Hintz recorded a hat trick as part of a four-point night, leading the Dallas Stars to a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild inside American Airlines Center to tie the best-of-seven series at one game apiece. In the process of recording the second Stanley Cup Playoffs hat trick in franchise history, Hintz also became just the 15th player in league history to record an even strength goal, a power play goal and a shorthanded goal in the same playoff game.
Dallas bounced back after losing to the Wild 3-2 in double overtime on Monday, when it had 54 shots on goal, including 27 in the overtime sessions combined, but were stunned by Sam Hartman’s goal midway through the second overtime.
“Great response. That’s what we’ve done all year,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer said. “We had an off night [last game]. We’ve responded like that most of the year, so I’m not surprised. We executed, and all the things we wanted to fix from Game 1, we did.”
Marc-Andre Fleury started in goal for the Wild instead of Game 1’s hero, Filip Gustavsson, a somewhat surprising move made all the more curious when the Stars opened up a 2-0 lead within the game’s first 12 minutes. Hintz’s forst goal of the game came shorthanded at 4:14 of the first that opened up the scoring. Midway through the first, the Stars converted on their first power play of the game toward the end of a high-sticking double minor on the Wild’s Jake Middleton. Tyler Seguin converted down low after a shot from Jason Robertson, doubling the Stars advantage at 11:20 of the period.
“It’s nice to get a lead. We want to come out and play with a lead. Roope [Hintz] did a good job there,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn, who scored a goal in the second period.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Wednesday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 33 pictures in total.