Pavelski leads Stars past Devils 5-1 for 4th straight win
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Joe Pavelski had two goals and two assists, and the Dallas Stars extended their winning streak to four games with a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
Roope Hintz scored for the fourth straight game and rookie Jacob Peterson got his eighth goal as Dallas swept its four-game road trip. Braden Holtby made 36 saves to improve his career mark against New Jersey to 18-4-3.
“It was a good team effort,” said Pavelski, who assisted on Jani Hakanpaa’s empty-net goal at 17:35 of the third period. “Guys were chipping in this road trip, which was huge for us with all the scoring we got from different lines and timely goals, and that’s what you need to do along the way and that needs to continue.”
The winning streak has put the Stars right in the hunt for a playoff spot at roughly the halfway point of the season.
“It was a great win. Anytime you’re playing back-to-back, you always know it’s a challenge when the other team is sitting there waiting for you,” coach Rick Bowness said. “They’ve got a lot of speed and a lot of skill. So, very proud of the guys the way they dug in tonight.”
Jesper Bratt scored his fourth goal in the last three games for New Jersey, which is 1-5 in its last six.
“I think they know what their strength is: It’s keep the puck out of the danger areas. Every puck went deep,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “They kept the puck below the goal line and they waited for us to make some mistakes. We made a few, made a few right off the bat.”
Devils top goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day with a heel injury and rookie Akira Schmid got the start after being recalled from Utica (AHL).
Pavelski, who extended his point streak to six games, beat Schmid just 14 seconds after the opening faceoff with the first shot of the game.
Jason Robertson outworked Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler behind the net and found Pavelski between the circles for a quick shot that beat the screened goaltender.
Peterson stretched the lead to 2-0 at 9:45, beating Schmid in close after taking a pass from Alexander Radulov.
Pavelski closed out the three-goal opening period by tipping Miro Heiskanen’s shot past Schmid at 16:48 for his 19th goal.
Ruff changed goalies after Schmid gave up three goals on seven shots in the first period. Jon Gillies took over in the second, but the move backfired when Hintz scored 15 seconds in for a 4-0 lead.
Bratt spoiled Holtby’s bid for his first shutout of the season with his 14th goal off a feed from Jack Hughes. New Jersey has scored a power-play goal in a season-high five straight games.
“At different pockets of the game we were decent, but overall I just think they outplayed us the whole game,” Devils defenseman Damon Severson said. “Not good for us, for sure, tonight. It was not a fun game.”
FOR THE AGES
The 37-year-old Pavelski has five two-goal games this season. He has five career regular-season hat tricks, all with the San Jose Sharks — the last on Feb. 24, 2019, against Detroit. His only postseason hat trick came with the Stars against Calgary on April 16, 2020, in the first round of the playoffs. Pavelski leads the Stars with 48 points, and his season high for a game is five against Seattle.
“I keep telling people, this is not a fluke,” Bowness said. “He works at it. He’s always the first guy out there on the ice working out around the net. He works very hard. He’s a true pro, great character and a great teammate.”
Stars: Host the Washington Capitals on Friday in the opener of a six-game homestand. Dallas is 14-4-1 at the American Airlines Center.
Devils: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday to start a three-game road trip. New Jersey is 5-11-2 away from the Prudential Center.
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