With Roope Hintz and John Klingberg’s return, Stars beat Blackhawks 2-1 in shootout for 6th straight win
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Roope Hintz had played for the Stars for three weeks. In spite of missing a good player who had scored 9 goals in the first 16 games, their offense still has hummed to the tune of a league-best 4.1 goals per game by the return of Hintz.
It seems that the 23-year-old Finn who was added to the lineup creates a roster conundrum for the Stars coach – Jim Montgomery, while the return of Hintz is such a boon for the team. On this Saturday morning, Montgomery said of Hintz that he wished Hintz never got hurt, “When a guy is playing as well as Roope was, and he was carrying us as a forward, you just hope he comes back with that same mindset — being aggressive, taking pucks to the blue paint.”
On a deflection from a John Klingberg shot, Hintz scored the opening goal in the Stars’ 2-1 shootout win over the Blackhawks at American Airlines Center this Saturday night. This made for a positive start to a night ending with a stellar late-game showing from goalie – Anton Khudobin.
The Stars’ backup netminder did make 38 saves on a total number of 39 Chicago shots, which drew plenty of oohs from the home crowd. The good vibes, however, kept on coming for Hintz who now has 10 goals. After the victory, Hintz said that “You just have to work hard. I just kept playing the same game I was before and tried to not think too much about the difficult things.”
He led the team in goals, and still does, although he missed 7 games and logged 1.4 offensive point shares, there was only a better mark from Miro Heiskanen and Tyler Seguin. Hintz’s absurd 27.3 shooting percentage was surprisingly triple what he did in his 2018-2019 season, and became tops in the NHL, putting him above veteran offensive dynamos, including Colorado’s Andre Burakovsky, Boston’s Brad Marchand, and Washington’s T.J. Oshie.
Before being sidelined, Hintz even scored 3 times in his last 3 games, which was sparking the Stars’ surge that has Dallas creeping to the first place in the Western Conference.
When being asked about jumping back into a lineup which is rolling, Hintz said he didn’t know if it’s easier or harder. The injury meant watching the game from a different angle and time up in the press box. Since coming up from the minors, Hintz hadn’t dealt with too many challenges in his first year, but it was a chance to put things into perspective, both literally and figuratively in the last three weeks.
Hintz said the whole team was playing really good, and It was great to watch the guys play from up there, and that “You can see everything up top, but it’s sometimes different when you’re on the ice, so let’s go and play.”
Hintz and Klingberg who also returned from a lower-body injury came back on the bench, then Montgomery made Taylor Fedun and Denis Gurianov healthy scratches on Saturday night.
After a slow start to the season for the sixth-year defenseman, Klingberg stated that he had been ready to get back to a level he’s proven capable of, as well as not disrupt the Stars’ recent roll. Klingberg said. “We’re playing with a lot more confidence. We’re making plays, which builds confidence, and you see a lot more guys going out there trying to make a difference.”