Pavelski nets hat trick as visiting Stars sink Canadiens

MONTREAL — Joe Pavelski scored a hat trick and added one assist, helping the Dallas Stars record a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Jason Robertson had one goal and one assist. Esa Lindell added a goal while Jamie Benn and Roope Hinz collected two assists and the Stars (4-0-1) handed the Canadiens (3-3-0) their first home loss of the NHL season.

Arber Zhekaj scored his first NHL goal and assisted Mike Hoffman’s first of the campaign.

Jake Oettinger won the battle of the Jakes with 29 saves on 31 shots and kept his perfect 4-0-0 record to start the season. Montreal’s Jake Allen allowed five goals and made 25 saves.

The Stars broke the ice early when Benn sent the puck over to Pavelski in the crease. The veteran used his backhand to beat Allen over the shoulder.

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Montreal levelled the score on the rush when Hoffman grabbed the rebound from Jake Evans’ shot and tapped in the equalizer.

Pavelski added his second of the game 18 seconds into the second period. Hinz found the centre in the high slot and he regained Dallas’ lead with the one-timer.

The Stars took a two-goal advantage on the power play when Robertson and Benn connected on a give-and-go play.

One game after rookie Juraj Slafkovsky netted his first NHL goal, Xhekaj decided he’d do the same. The undrafted rookie beat Oettinger with a shot from the point to cut Montreal’s deficit to one goal.

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Just like with Slafkovsky, the crowd greeted Xhekaj’s feat with a standing ovation.

Montreal’s hopes were short-lived as Lindell beat Allen between the pads to give Dallas another two-goal lead with 17 seconds remaining in the second period.

Pavelski completed his hat trick on a breakaway. The veteran was caught up by Montreal’s defence but still found a way to beat Allen. A lone cap was thrown onto the ice by Stars fans at the game.


Pavelski recorded his eighth multi-point game against Montreal. With Saturday’s four-point tally, Pavelski surpassed the point-per-game mark against the Habs with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 22 games.

Pavelski became the NHL’s 81st all-time goal-scorer and is now three goals away from Canadiens legend Yvan Cournoyer.


The Dallas Stars will continue their four-game Eastern Conference round trip with a visit to the Canadian capital to take on the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

The Canadiens will host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday to close out a four-game home stint.

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