NHL: Jason Robertson’s hat trick leads Stars past Oilers

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Not a single hat hit the ice to celebrate Jason Robertson’s first career playoff hat trick that paced the Dallas Stars to a 5-3 road win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference final.

“I mentally threw mine,” Dallas forward Tyler Seguin said with a laugh.

The Stars were all smiles after they erased a 2-0 first-period deficit with a dominant performance over the final 40 minutes that gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series. Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday in Edmonton.

Robertson’s third goal of the night, and sixth of the playoffs, broke a 3-3 deadlock with 8:06 remaining. Robertson, who snapped a 10-game goal drought with a pair of second-period tallies, banked a sharp-angled shot off Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner and into the net.

“I don’t know if I would have done that if I hadn’t (already) scored two goals,” Robertson told Sportsnet. “I got the first one and thought I would shoot everything. You gain confidence.”

The Oilers grabbed a two-goal lead when Zach Hyman opened the scoring just 2:02 into the clash by deflecting a Connor McDavid shot for his 13th goal of the playoffs. McDavid doubled the lead at 7:37 by holding off a check while slipping a loose puck into the cage for his fourth of the playoffs.

However, the Stars responded with a trio of second-period goals before the Oilers even managed a shot on net in the middle frame. Robertson put the visitors on the board at 5:35 of the period with a top-corner one-timer from the left faceoff dot and then tied the score at 8:05 with a long backhand shot from the slot.

Wyatt Johnston gave Dallas a 3-2 lead 63 seconds later by pouncing on a loose puck at the doorstep for his eighth of the postseason. Adam Henrique, who returned after missing the previous seven games with injury, pulled Edmonton even by neatly redirecting a pass for his second goal of the playoffs with 52.5 seconds remaining in the second period.

That set the stage for Robertson’s heroics and Miro Heiskanen to ice the game with an empty netter.

For the second consecutive game, the Stars were outplayed in the first period, recovered and pulled away in the third period.

“We know we’re here for a reason,” Robertson said. “We know we’re a great hockey team and we know if we do what needs to be done, everyone does what needs to be done and trusts the system, it’s going to be successful. That’s a great thing with our team, no one steps out of it, no one tries to do too much, forcing plays, cheating the game.”

Roope Hintz, in his first game back in the lineup after missing four games due to injury, collected two assists, as did Jamie Benn and Seguin. Goaltender Jake Oettinger made 28 saves.

For the Oilers, the loss was a missed opportunity. Even though they tied the score after blowing the initial lead, a dismal second period was a huge culprit in their defeat.

“You knew they were going to push back,” said Skinner, who stopped 17 shots. “These guys obviously want to make it to the finals and we do as well. I think we let off the gas a little bit and when they started rolling, they kept rolling. Once they got momentum, as a whole unit, we started watching them. We allowed them to kinda do what they wanted the majority of the second period.”

Edmonton has been outscored 5-0 in third periods in this series, and the sense of deja vu with a second consecutive loss when tied through 40 minutes added to the disappointment.

“They all sting,” McDavid said. “Series are short and you only get a handful of games. … We found a way to wrestle it back, but they still find a way, again.”

–Field Level Media

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