Jason Robertson has secured his place in history as the first Dallas Stars player with back-to-back hat tricks. It’s just the second such occurrence in franchise history, when Bill Goldsworthy did the same in 1971 as a Minnesota North Star.
Something tells me it won’t be the only time Robertson graces the record books in his Dallas Star career.
The feat powered the Stars to an eventual 6-3 win over the Minnesota Wild, though it wasn’t without it’s drama.
Dallas was sloppy in their own zone to start the game, but likely Jake Oettinger wasn’t. He kept Dallas from going down early until mid-way through the period.
That’s when Nico Sturm beat him on a breakaway on a backhanded shot on the far post. The play was a result of the Stars’ inability to cleanly clear the puck through neutral ice, losing a battle along the boards just outside of their own blue line.
It appeared that a 1-0 Wild lead would be how the period would end until Dallas got a late power play opportunity. With just three seconds left in the period, Tyler Seguin made incidental contact with Kaapo Kahkonen thanks to the stick of Frederick Gaudreau tripping him between his legs. That allowed the chaos machine to activate and Joe Pavelski to tie the game on a shot through the traffic in front.
The Wild challenged the goal for goaltender interference. After a long review, it was upheld as a good hockey goal, and the game was tied 1-1 at the end of 20 minutes.
The failed challenge gave Dallas basically a full power play opportunity to start the middle frame. Robertson netted his first goal on that chance when he stuffed home a rebound chance from the side of the net.
Riley Tufte scored his first career NHL goal just 1:35 later to put Dallas up 3-1. The Minnesota native did so in front of his hometown crowd in a little bit of revenge for being a late healthy scratch in November in this very same building after acquiring tickets for his friends and family to see his NHL debut.
Robertson scored his second of the game about midway through the period on a shot from distance that trickled through Kahkonen, ending his day in net and sending in Cam Talbot.
Dallas seemed content to turtle up on the 4-1 lead in the third period, trying to milk it home for the win. That strategy nearly bit them in the behind when the Wild pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker with nearly eight minutes left in the game. Playing nearly half the period with an extra attacker, the Wild managed to score twice thanks to Kirill Kaprizov to get back into the game.
That could have been avoided had Dallas hit any of their five empty-net attempts prior to those goals. But for some reason, the Stars seem allergic to scoring in the easiest way possible in games this year.
Jamie Benn finally managed to hit the target, though, with 1:05 left in the game to ice it away. Robertson got his hat trick on an empty net goal after he capitalized on a turnover by the Wild in their own zone. Though the final score was 6-3, it felt a whole lot closer than the final score would appear.
Nothing comes easy for the Stars, as they somehow managed to improve their record to 9-2-1 since the All-Star break. They find themselves with 67 points in 54 games played, tied in points with the Wild (who have one game in hand) and four points behind the St. Louis Blues for second in the Central Division.
The margin between that and the Wild Card spot is razor thin, though. With the Nashville Predators flagging fo late, that matchup on Tuesday has some major implications on the playoff picture with 27 games to go.