The Dallas Stars defeated the Nashville Predators 3-2 on Tuesday night, riding the back of two goals from Roope Hintz. The second Hintz tally came with just 52 seconds remaining in the game and was his fifth in the last three games.
Find a way Roope: In the 27 days so far in December, Hintz has recorded six goals, 10 assists, and 16 points. Coming off of the heroic streak from his linemate Jason Robertson, the 26-year-old forward has been the Stars best player for weeks.
Hintz sits second on the club with 18 goals and 40 points. At this moment, he would lead 16 other NHL teams in scoring. He is on pace to shatter his career highs, currently projected to hit 42 goals (best: 37) and 93 points (best: 72).
Power play tallies, but what does it mean?: The Stars power play converted in the second period, as Hintz redirected a Jason Robertson shot from the point to put Dallas up 2-1. However, the goal was a rarity on an otherwise dismal evening from the Stars extra man.
On six attempts, Dallas scored one goal and tallied only six total shots.
In the second, Nashville’s Yakov Trenin corralled a loose puck in his own end, skating the full length of the ice, and used Ryan Suter as a screen, as he ripped a shot over the glove hand of Jake Oettinger for the shorthanded goal. It was just the second shorty Dallas has given up all season.
For a Stars power play that was red-hot early in the season, things had cooled off as of late until they exploded for three goals in their last game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Tonight, it was back to some of the same issues that had plagued them prior to that contest.
Oh captain, my captain: Stars captain Jamie Benn opened the scoring just over one minute into the game. After picking off a dangerous cross-ice pass from Nashville, Benn used his signature snapshot to beat Juuse Saros to the blocker side and get the Stars on the board.
With the goal, the 343rd of his career, Benn surpassed Brian Bellows and leaped into second on the all-time franchise scoring list. He now trails only Mike Modano (557) in that category.
“He’s been a leader all year for us,” Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. “Right from day one of training camp, he came in and he has led in every situation. I think his game just keeps getting better and better. I thought him and Joe Pavelski, our veteran guys, were two of our better players.”
A nearly perfect debut: 26-year-old Fredrik Olofsson had to wait a bit longer than most to make his NHL debut. But on Tuesday night, the Swedish forward finally reached his dream, skating in his first game at Bridgestone Arena,
After the traditional rookie solo lap in warmup, Olofsson was one of the Stars most impressive players. He recorded three shots, was sound in his own end, and came within inches of giving Dallas the go-ahead goal in the third period. All in all, it was exactly what he, and the coaching staff, had hoped for.
“I thought he was good,” DeBoer said. “I think that's what we’re looking for for a guy coming up and in the lineup. Make it easy to play. I think that he does that. He was solid defensively, he created some things offensively. He didn’t get as much time as I would have liked or [he] probably deserved, but I liked his game.”
With the win, the Stars moved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games.