Pavelski, Lindell score early as Stars beat Wild 7-4

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 20: Joe Pavelski #16 of the Dallas Stars celebrates a goal against the Minnesota Wild at the American Airlines Center on December 20, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Joe Pavelski and Esa Lindell scored on the first two Dallas shots on goal, and the Stars never trailed in defeating the Minnesota Wild 7-4 on Monday night.

Pavelski put in a backhand 1:31 into the game. Lindell scored short-handed and unassisted with a shot between Cam Talbot’s legs 1:53 later after Lindell intercepted Talbot's pass intended to move the Minnesota offense out of the defensive zone.

"I was a bit surprised he actually passed it," Lindell said, "because I wasn't that far from the guy that was on the blue line. I saw a chance to jump there. I like shooting 5-hole.

"That goal gets the whole team going, the crowd."

Talbot took responsibility for the early deficit.

"First two shots of the game go in, that's not a recipe for success. I gave away that one on the power play, thought I could catch a few of their guys changing."

The Stars' season-high seven goals came from seven different players as Dallas improved to 11-1-0 in the last 12 home games.

Miro Heiskanen had a goal and an assist for Dallas, and Tyler Seguin, Roope Hintz, Jacob Peterson and Jamie Benn also scored. Jason Robertson and Denis Gurianov each had two assists and Jake Oettinger stopped 19 shots.

"We've been talking about it all year, get the D scoring," Stars coach Rick Bowness, "and Miro scored, Esa scored."

Kevin Fiala had two goals, and Ryan Hartman and Kirill Kaprizov also scored for Minnesota. Talbot had 22 saves.

Fiala's second goal came with 4:54 remaining in the third period on a 6-on-4 power play after Talbot was pulled for a sixth skater with 9:20 to play.

Fiala and Hartman scored in the first period and Kaprizov in the second.

"We fought back," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "We caught a couple bad plays at the start. We battled our butt off to get back even."

In the only other game between the Stars and Wild this season, the Central Division leaders won 7-2.

"You have to respect the opposition," Bowness said. "They’re a good team; that’s why they’re first place in our division. We wanted to pay them back for the game we had in Minnesota. We wanted to come out hard and we did that."

Coming off a four-point game (two goals, two assists) on Saturday, Pavelski has eight goals and nine assists in the last 12 games.

When Hartman scored at 5:25 of the action-packed first period, three of the five shots by the two teams were goals.

Fiala tied it 2-2 with a wrist shot with 4:18 left in the period. Gurianov passed the puck back to Seguin for a wrist shot 61 seconds later to put Dallas ahead for good.

Hintz scored on the power play at 8:02 of the second on a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot.

Kaprizov pulled Minnesota back within a goal with a wrist shot with 2:23 left in the middle period.

"We wanted to come out hard in the third period, one-goal game," Bowness said, "and we did that."

Peterson and Heiskanen scored one minute apart in the third before Benn hit the empty net with 1:32 to play.

"We would have had a chance," Evason said. "The disappointing part was that we didn't trust ourselves. Maybe we were just too tired to make a play."

Bowness was asked if he would have lifted the goalie so early.

"Why not?" he said, adding, "The earliest I've done it is six minutes."

NOTES: Because of an increase in positive COVID-19 cases, this was the only NHL game played of five scheduled for Monday. ... Lindell's goal was his first since April 17, a 51-game drought. It was the Stars' third short-handed goal of the season and the first against Minnesota. Dallas is one of just four teams that haven't allowed a short-handed score. Wild C Joel Eriksson Ek left the game because of an upper-body injury. "We won't know how bad it is until we evaluate the next couple days," Evason said. ... Brothers Jamie Benn (Stars) and Jordie Benn (Wild) played against each other for the first time since Nov. 19, 2019, when Jordie played for Vancouver. ... Dallas C Tanner Kero (concussion protocol) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Saturday, when he was crashed into the boards against Chicago.


Wild: At Winnipeg on Monday, Dec. 27.

Stars: Host Nashville on Monday, Dec. 27.

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