Stars cruise past Oilers for 5-1 victory
DALLAS (AP) — Stars coach Ken Hitchcock played a hunch early Saturday, and it paid off quickly.
Alexander Radulov, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin — put together on the same line in the early going — scored first-period goals within a span of 6 1/2 minutes, leading the Stars past the Edmonton Oilers 5-1.
Seguin also had two assists. John Klingberg had a goal and two assists, and Mattias Janmark had a goal and an assist for Dallas.
The Stars have won six of their past eight games.
Radulov assisted on the other first-period goals, giving him two goals and four assists in Dallas’ past two games. He had three goals and five assists in the Stars’ three games against Edmonton this season.
Radulov has 16 goals in 43 games after scoring 18 in 76 games last season for the Montreal Canadiens. He came to Dallas as a free agent last summer.
“Sometimes it’s happening, sometimes it’s going well, and we worked hard and got rewarded,” Radulov said.
Hitchcock opened the game with Benn and Seguin playing with Brett Ritchie for the second consecutive game but quickly put Radulov back with the team’s top two scorers, where he has played previously this season.
“I felt the way the rotations of the line were going that it was a better matchup if I put Rads’ there,” said Hitchcock, third in career NHL coaching wins at 805. “He had a bead in on the game, and I had to get him out there as much as I could early and often.”
“We didn’t have an answer for that line,” Oilers coach Todd McLelland said. “They scored just about every way they could except for on the power play. They created a lot of havoc for us in our end on a lot of lateral plays.”
“He’s such a dynamic player,” Benn said of Radulov. “He’s taking his game to another level.”
Leon Draisaitl’s power-play goal for the Oilers at 2:04 of the third period denied Ben Bishop his fifth shutout of the season.
Oilers goalie Cam Talbot was pulled at 4:45 of the second period after allowing four goals on 19 shots. He was replaced by Al Montoya, who was acquired on Thursday from Montreal and had not played since Nov. 4 because of concussion symptoms.
“It was a long road back,” Montoya said. “I’m just happy to be back. I haven’t had much time to skate, but I feel good, which goes a long way.”
Dallas’ three first-period goals were all backdoor one-timers. Radulov opened the scoring at 10:21, beating Talbot to the glove side. He was fed by Seguin, who received a cross-ice breakout pass from Klingberg.
Radulov passed to Benn less than three minutes later for an easy backhand.
Seguin tapped in a cross-crease pass from Radulov at 16:32, Klingberg getting the other assist.
Janmark scored when attempting to pass from the goal line to Brett Ritchie in the crease. The puck caromed off the skate of Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera past Talbot.
As Talbot skated off the ice toward the locker room, backup goalie Kari Lehtonen was standing in the tunnel and gave him a good-luck tap with his stick.
Edmonton has lost three of its past four and has been outscored 16-2.
“I don’t think it’s a lack of effort,” Connor McDavid said. “We just have to get it done.”
NOTES: Seguin leads Dallas with 21 goals this season. ... With Montoya activated, the Oilers waived goaltender Laurent Brossoit. Brossoit was 3-7-1 with a 3.22 goals-against average as Talbot’s backup this season. ... Oilers forward Patrick Maroon served the second and last game of a suspension for a hit on Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty on Tuesday. ... Dallas defenseman Marc Methot was a late scratch with a sore knee, replaced by Julius Honka. Methot had returned to the lineup Thursday after missing 26 games with a knee injury.
Oilers: Play at Chicago on Sunday.
Stars: Host Colorado next Saturday night.
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