Laine gets hat trick to lead Jets over Stars 5-2
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Patrik Laine likes to score in bunches, especially against the Dallas Stars.
Laine got his third hat trick of the season, including the go-ahead goal late in the third period, to lift the Winnipeg Jets over the Stars 5-2 on Tuesday night.
It’s his second three-goal game against Dallas this season. The Finnish rookie has 26 goals, including two in the third period while Winnipeg blew open a tight game.
”It was a huge game for me and my linemates and the whole team,” Laine said. ”These four last games haven’t been that good, so it was just nice to have a game like this.”
Joel Armia and Blake Wheeler also scored to help the Jets snap a four-game skid.
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin scored in the second period for Dallas to erase a two-goal deficit.
Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves in his third straight start for the Jets since Ondrej Pavelec got a lower-body injury on Feb. 7.
Antti Niemi stopped 19 of 22 shots for Dallas.
The victory snapped a five-game home losing streak for the Jets, and Dallas got its sixth loss in its last seven games.
”I’ve never gone through a stretch where when you have opportunities and you have it on the right guy’s stick, that the puck hasn’t gone in the net,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. ”(Patrick) Sharp hit two crossbars, a deflection hit the post and doesn’t go in. (John) Klingberg (had) Seguin point blank in the slot. If you want to look at key opportunities, we missed.”
Laine made it 3-2 with 5:07 left in the game, then completed his hat trick just over four minutes later with Winnipeg’s second empty-netter.
”When you’re assessing Patty Laine and where he’s at – if he didn’t score the three goals, I could’ve still come out and said that was his best game of the season,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. ”All the other pieces to his game were NHL right on.”
Laine opened the scoring late in the first period. Mark Scheifele forced a turnover in the Jets’ zone and turned it up ice to Andrew Copp, who evaded a sprawling defender and fed Laine for a tap-in goal.
Armia fired a one-timer from the high slot off Shawn Matthias’ centering pass as Winnipeg extended its lead at 7:38 of the second.
Dallas cut the lead in half just over a minute later when Benn completed a passing play from Jason Spezza and Seguin for his 19th of the season. With Winnipeg forward Nikolaj Ehlers off for hooking, the Stars got the equalizer on the power play at 13:35 of the second when Seguin’s low wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic for his 21st.
Wheeler’s empty-net goal at 18:12 of the third was his 17th of the season.
NOTES: Laine pulled within one of Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the most goals by a rookie this season. Matthews scored twice for the Maple Leafs in a 7-1 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. Matthews was selected first overall and Laine second in the 2016 NHL draft.
Stars: Wrap a four-game trip through the Central Division on Thursday night at Minnesota.
Jets: Begin a four-game trip at Pittsburgh on Thursday night.