MONTREAL (AP)Joe Pavelski finished with a hat trick and an assist, leading the Dallas Stars to a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
Jason Robertson added a goal and assist and Esa Lindell also scored for Dallas. Jamie Benn and Roope Hinz each had two assists as the Stars dealt the Canadiens their first home loss of the season.
”It’s a fun place to play, it’s a great city,” Pavelski said of Montreal. ”I’ve really only been able to come here once a year toward, pretty much, the second half of my career. There’s a lot of history. It’s just a cool place to play, so to have a night like tonight here in this building, it means a little bit.”
Pavelski (38 years, 103 days) became the oldest player in Stars/North Stars franchise history to record a hat trick. He was the oldest player on any team with a three-goal game since former teammate Joe Thornton (39 years, 231 days) on Feb. 18, 2019. Pavelski assisted on two of Thornton’s goals in that game.
Also, the three-goal performance marked Pavelski’s sixth career regular-season hat trick, and his first with the Stars. His last came Feb. 24, 2019, with San Jose.
”It’s incredible what he’s doing,” Stars coach Peter DeBoer said of Pavelski. ”He looks exactly like he did five, six years ago, like the clock stopped. And he looks like he could do it for another five years. It’s hard to explain, he’s just a special athlete.”
Pavelski’s teammates were equally impressed.
”I love it. He just finds a way to get it done, always,” Ty Dellandrea said. ”I just love his poise and his smarts. His hockey sense is second to none. He’s fun to watch and he brings it every night.”
Arber Xhekaj scored his first NHL goal and assisted Mike Hoffman score for Montreal.
”We had an offensive push in the first and we got scored on twice in the second,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. ”We kept pushing and I thought we had a few bounces that could have come our way and it could have been a tie game.
”But we leave the second trailing by two, it’s tough to get back in the third in this league.”
Jake Oettinger made 29 saves on 31 shots and kept his perfect 4-0-0 record to start the season. Montreal’s Jake Allen allowed five goals and made 25 saves.
The Stars jumped out early as Benn sent the puck into the crease for Pavelski, who used his backhand to beat Allen over the shoulder.
Montreal tied the score on the rush when Hoffman grabbed the rebound from Jake Evans’ shot and tapped in the equalizer.
Pavelski added his second of the game 18 seconds into the second period. Hinz found the center in the high slot and he scored on a one-timer.
The Stars took a two-goal advantage on the power play when Robertson and Benn connected on a give-and-go.
Xhekaj, an undrafted rookie, beat Oettinger with a shot from the point to cut Montreal’s deficit to a goal.
Montreal’s hopes were short-lived as Lindell beat Allen between the pads to give Dallas another two-goal lead with 17 seconds remaining in the second period.
Pavelski completed his hat trick on a breakaway. The veteran was caught by Montreal’s defense but still found a way to beat Allen. A lone cap was thrown onto the ice by Stars fans at the game.
”He came back after the breakaway goal where he got caught from behind and two guys slipped by him and bounced right to him for an empty net and he said: `That’s a Pavelski goal,”’ DeBoer said. ”He just has that innate ability, the puck follows him around.”
PAVELSKI LOVES MONTREAL
Pavelski recorded his eighth multi-point game against Montreal. With Saturday’s four-point effort, Pavelski surpassed the point-per-game mark against the Canadiens with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 22 games.
Pavelski became the NHL’s 81st all-time scorer and is now three goals away from Canadiens legend Yvan Cournoyer.
Dallas: At Ottawa on Monday in the third of a four-game trip.
Montreal: Hosts Minnesota on Tuesday.
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