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Hintz Hits a Hat Trick as Holtby Halts Hurricanes 4-1

It was a milestone night for the Dallas Stars: Rick Bowness coached his 2,500th NHL game, Roope Hintz scored his first career hat trick, and Braden Holtby secured the win in his game No. 500:

Hintz opened up the scoring within the first 75 seconds for the second consecutive game, only the 34th player in NHL history to do so per NHL Public Relations and first since captain Jamie Benn more than seven years ago. A flurry of penalties followed, but the scoreboard remained 1-0 throughout the first and most the second.

Then Hintz found the board yet again towards the end of the second, putting him on hat trick watch. Halfway through the third, linemate Joe Pavelski tipped the puck in to give Dallas a 3-0 lead. Holtby’s bid for a shutout ended with 3:33 left in the game, but Hintz quickly made up for it by scoring an empty netter for the hat trick.

Heading into the game, the Carolina Hurricanes held the highest points percentage in the NHL. The win puts Dallas on a league-leading five game win streak, and have won seven of their last eight. It also puts the Stars in a playoff position, and gives them a positive goal differential for the first time since the start of the season.

Dallas will try to keep the steak alive when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets this Thursday at 7:30 CT.

First Period

Invoking déjà vu in Stars fans all over, Roope Hintz opened the scoring (again) just 73 seconds into the game:

The Hurricanes would soon go on the power play as Jason Robertson was called for a rare closing hand on the puck penalty. But it would be Dallas earning the scoring opportunites, first with be Luke Glendening almost scoring shorthanded after a poor turnover by Frederik Andersen. Hintz would later get a chance on a breakaway, and Jacob Peterson shortly after the power play expired.

Not long afterwards, Dallas gained the man advantage as Ian Cole went down for tripping. But the Stars were more or less as ineffective as the Hurricanes, save for Robertson ringing one off the post in the final seconds. A few minutes went by before another penalty was called — this time Joel Kiviranta got wrongfully called for hi-sticking as Brady Skjei’s stick hit Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s face.

Carolina did a much better job on offense this time around, but to no avail. With 11 seconds left, Jamie Benn was called for hooking Kotkaniemi, who in turn was also sent to the box for embellishment. The penalties offset, bringing us back to 5-on-5 where they’d stay for the rest of the period.

Score: Dallas 1, Carolina 0
Shots: Dallas 7, Carolina 13

Second Period

After some back and forth to begin the second, the refs blew their whistle once more, knocking Teuvo Teräväinen for holding about five and a half minutes in. Dallas failed to generate any meaningful scoring chances, however.

The Hurricanes continued to put pressure on Braden Holtby, who continued to shut them out while the Stars made little strides to put similar heat on Andersen. That is, until roughly five minutes to go when a Pavelski-Hintz two-on-one gave Hintz his second of the night:

Almost immediately afterwards, Carolina almost scored their first as the puck somehow bounced right to Sebastian Aho’s stick with a wide open net, but the Finn wasn’t ready and the puck passed him by. Seth Jarvis then had a lethal chance on a rebound, but Holtby stood strong once more.

Some back and forth for the last couple minutes didn’t amount to anything, and the Stars headed back to the locker room with their lead doubled.

Score: Dallas 2, Carolina 0
Shots: Dallas 12, Carolina 23

Third Period

Surprisingly, the Stars began the third by trading chances with the Hurricanes despite holding the lead. The Hurricanes continued to dominate Dallas in shots on net, but Dallas would still find a way, as a Robertson shot deflected off of Joe Pavelski’s stick, followed by the post, followed by Andersen’s back:

A couple minutes later, the Stars got a scare as Jamie Benn took a puck to the face in the offensive zone, but he quickly returned to the bench after a brief visit to the locker room. Not much later, Denis Gurianov committed a bad tripping penalty, putting Carolina on the power play for one last chance at a comeback.

But the Stars stood strong — Dallas didn’t allow a single shot on net, not to mention Hintz might have scored again had he not elected to pass the puck away. But 30 seconds later, chaos erupted in front of the Stars net, and the puck finally made it past Holtby, spoiling the shutout with only 3:33 left.

No worries — Hintz immediately scored an empty netter from his own zone, earning his first career hat trick:

Though Andersen remained in net after that, the Hurricanes still refused to give up, and Braden Holtby was forced to stop three rapid-fire shots in succession in “grand larceny,” as per the great Daryl Reaugh:

It wasn’t a shutout, but it might as well have been, rivaled only by a hatless Hintz.

Final Score: Dallas 4, Carolina 1
Final Shots: Dallas 17, Carolina 40