Stars’ Robertson regains scoring touch in comeback win over Oilers

Jason Robertson exploded for a hat trick performance and Roope Hintz dished two assists in his return as the Dallas Stars topped the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 to take a 2-1 Western Conference Final series lead.

EDMONTON – Hours before puck drop, Peter DeBoer insisted that just because Jason Robertson hadn’t scored in 10 outings didn’t mean he was unproductive.

Got that right, as the 24-year-old Californian had eight assists during that stretch.

Turns out all Robertson needed to regain his scoring touch was his top-line centre back, Roope Hintz.

With Hintz returning from a wrist injury that kept him out four games, the deepest team in the NHL got even deeper.

And Robertson got just a little more dangerous.

Make that a lot more dangerous.

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With his club on the ropes Monday night following a first period that saw the host Oilers feed off the energy of a raucous crowd to lead 2-0, Robertson found his scoring touch just in time to start — and end — a stirring come-from-behind victory.

As part of an incredible turn of fortune that saw the Stars bounce back to open the second period with 14 consecutive shots, Robertson scored twice in the first eight minutes.

In both cases his setup man was Hintz.

With the two teams exchanging goals to set up a third period in which the next goal won, it was Robertson who capped the hattie with a jam-job shot in tight in which he juked at the side of the net before shooting the puck in off the back of Stuart Skinner’s skate and pants before silencing a feverish crowd with eight minutes left.

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Not a single hat hit the ice.

“I mentally threw mine,” smiled linemate Tyler Seguin following a gutsy 5-3 win that put the Stars up 2-1 in the west conference final.

“Honestly, my guy, I thought he was gonna maybe get four.

“He was having one of those nights. 

“His third goal was the most Robo Goal goal I think you’re gonna score.

“I think they might talk about the goalie but that’s just a Robo shot there.”

A shot Robertson said he’d worked on with his goalie coach and backup Scott Wedgewood with an eye on finding different ways to beat today’s big bad netminders.

A shot he admitted he probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to try had he not scored twice earlier.

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“I know Roope was wide open, he said,” chuckled Robertson, the Stars’ leading scorer in the regular season and playoffs, with 16 in 16 now.

“That was a big goal for us.

“(Hintz) was the first on pucks and the forecheck and if it was a race he won all of ’em.

“It was a great game for him to come back in. I know it’s not easy coming in after a week or two off but he had a good game.”

A brilliant game, reuniting and re-energizing a top line on a team with three of ’em on any given night, via endless combos.

For a team whose hallmark is an unflappable ability to bounce back from adversity, this was an evening that crystallized that concept.

Outshot 10-3 in a first period in which they played entirely on their heels while Connor McDavid ran their show, the Stars demonstrated why they are 6-1 on the road by holding the Oilers without a shot for a stretch of 16:27.

Robertson’s line was leading that charge, focusing on winning the two things emblazoned on the back of their t-shirts: “races and battles.” 

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“Goal scorers like him, you need one to drop and then all of a sudden it looks like a soccer net,” said coach DeBoer of Robertson.

“He’s always been streaky like that.

“Obviously having Roope back helps, but I liked Robo’s game even when he was out of the lineup.

“If you consider what our team did without our No. 1 centre… we gutted it out when he was out of our lineup.

“That’s what I’m most proud of — how we handled his absence while he was gone.”

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How Robertson handled Hintz’s return gave the Stars home ice advantage back.

“I think Robo probably enjoyed it the most, for sure,” said Seguin.

“(Hintz) is so dynamic, he brings such a speed element to a game and when I have the chance to play with him I’ve always enjoyed it. 

“He creates so much space. He was awesome tonight.”

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