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Pavelski nets hat trick as Stars sink Canadiens 5-2

MONTREAL — Sitting next to his hat-trick puck in a country music-filled visitors' locker room, Joe Pavelski explained that scoring three times at the Bell Centre was pretty unique. “It's a fun place to play, it's a great city,” Pavelski said.
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (34) stops Dallas Stars' Joe Pavelski (16) during second period NHL hockey action Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL — Sitting next to his hat-trick puck in a country music-filled visitors' locker room, Joe Pavelski explained that scoring three times at the Bell Centre was pretty unique.

“It's a fun place to play, it's a great city,” Pavelski said. “I've really only been able to come here once a year toward, pretty much, the second half of my career.

"There's a lot of history. It's just a cool place to play, so to have a night like tonight here in this building, it means a little bit.”

Playing against the young Montreal Canadiens, Pavelski scored three times and added one assist showing the kids how it’s done. The veteran helped the Dallas Stars record a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

“It’s incredible what he's doing,” said Stars coach Peter DeBoer. “He looks exactly like he did five-six years ago, like the clock stopped. And he looks like he could do it for another five years. It’s hard to explain, he’s just a special athlete.”

“I love it. He just finds a way to get it done, always,” said Ty Dellandrea. “I just love his poise and his smarts. His hockey sense is second to none. He's fun to watch and he brings it every night."

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 Xhekaj scored his first NHL goal and assisted on Mike Hoffman’s first of the campaign.

“We had an offensive push in the first and we got scored on twice in the second,” said Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis. “We kept pushing and I thought we had a few bounces that could have come our way and it could have been a tie game.

“But we leave the second trailing by two, it’s tough to get back in the third in this league.”

Jake Oettinger won the battle of the Jakes with 32 saves on 34 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.

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.

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

“If you look at his last season, he was a dominant player in the juniors,” St. Louis said. “He was an offensive, physical guy. Arber is a hockey player and that’s what he’s showing us.”

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 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.

“He came back after the breakaway goal where he got caught from behind and two guys slipped by him and bounced right to him for an empty net and he said: ‘That's a Pavelski goal,’" DeBoer said. “He just has that innate ability, the puck follows him around.” 


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 a four-game home stint.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2022.

Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press