DALLAS (AP)The playoff-contending Dallas Stars overcame a miserable travel day after a winless three-game trip in Canada and a two-goal deficit on home ice to get a much-needed victory Saturday night.
After the Stars had an early goal wiped out because of goalie interference, Roope Hintz scored two goals in a span of about two minutes to get Dallas even in the second, and Vladislav Namestnikov had the eventual game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken.
”Great resilience. Listen, we were running on fumes there at the end there,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. ”Our guys, they dug deep … and found the will to win. That was the difference.”
With three games left in the regular season, all at home, the Stars have 93 points and are tied with Nashville for the Western Conference’s two wild-card spots. The Predators, who lost 6-2 Saturday to Tampa Bay, have four games left. Vegas has 89 points with four games remaining. The Golden Knights are home Sunday against San Jose before playing in Dallas on Tuesday night.
”It was a tough road trip for us,” center Joe Pavelski said. ”Getting back home felt nice.”
The Stars left their Calgary hotel early Friday morning and didn’t get home until well after midnight. Their initial charter plane was going full-throttle toward takeoff when it had to slam on the brakes because of smoke in the cockpit. The team had to wait more than six hours for another plane to take them back to Texas and had to go through customs a second time.
With just over 13 minutes left in the second period, Hintz was on his rear in the crease when he stuck out his stick to knock in the puck to get Dallas within 2-1. Then, as the Stars were on the power play, Hintz was charging toward the net when he got a pass from Jason Robertson and had nice puck control to get around defenseman Adam Larsson for the tying goal.
Hintz has five goals in the last three games and 37 overall. Robertson assisted on both of Hintz’s scores and has 37 assists to go with his team-high 38 goals.
Namestnikov, who wasn’t on the trip to Canada as part of the five games he missed with a lower-body injury, got his 15th goal on a pass from behind the net from Denis Gurianov.
”You never want to be out, and when you come back, you want to make an impact,” Namestnikov said. ”The boys battled hard today, and that was a gutsy, gutsy win there.”
Jake Oettinger stopped 30 of 32 shots, and the Stars goaltender also got a secondary assist on the tying goal with his pass to Robertson.
Chris Driedger had 28 saves for the expansion Kraken, which have 26 wins and four games left in their first season.
”We’ve been playing some pretty decent hockey lately, if you cross out the last couple second periods,” Driedger said. ”Our group’s working towards some real positive things.”
Seattle took a 1-0 lead on Riley Sheahan’s goal, which came only seconds after the Kraken’s power play ended. Sheahan was between Oettinger and a defender when he reached around the goalie to knock in a blocked puck.
Yanni Gourde’s 100th career goal made it 2-0, when he held up his stick to deflect an in-air puck into the net.
”Overall, it wasn’t a terrible game,” Sheahan said. ”We just had some lapses where we took the foot off the gas and they capitalized.”
The Stars thought they had a goal less than three minutes into the game. But Pavelski’s shot into an open net was wiped out after Seattle won a coach’s challenge for goalie interference against Hintz. … Pavelski, the 37-year-old Stars center, had his 500th career assist – a secondary helper on the first goal. He has assists in four consecutive games and his 78 points (27 goals, 51 assists) are one shy of his career high of 79 set in 2013-14 with San Jose. … Seattle rookie Matty Beniers failed to have a point for the first time in his six NHL games. He is the only rookie this season to begin his NHL career with a point in four or more consecutive games.
Kraken: At Vancouver on Tuesday night. The Canucks still have a chance to make the playoffs.
Stars: Host a potential playoff clincher Tuesday night against Vegas if the Golden Knights lose in regulation Sunday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports