DALLAS (AP) — Alexander Radulov knows he can’t get back that game he missed as a healthy scratch after he overslept and was late for the morning skate.
Still, Radulov returned in a big way for the Dallas Stars — with his first career hat trick.
“It’s always nice to bounce back and have a game like that. You just have to do the little things,” said Radulov, who missed Tuesday’s 1-0 home win over the New York Rangers. “To score a goal is always nice, but the most important thing is winning and getting a shutout for (Bishop).”
Jamie Benn added his 25th goal of the season for the Stars, who hold the first wild card in the Western Conference. Benn also assisted on Radulov’s first goal.
An empty-net breakaway with 2:58 left in the game gave the 32-year-old Russian his first hat trick in his six NHL seasons. Radulov has 20 goals this season.
“He’s a great competitor, and we expected him to play at a high level tonight,” coach Jim Montgomery said. “You could tell he had intensity about him the way he was practicing while he was out.”
Radulov was scratched by Montgomery after the winger arrived late for the morning skate Tuesday. He was also benched for part of a period earlier this season.
“We’re all human. I just overslept and came a little bit late. A rule’s a rule for everybody, so I think it’s in the past,” Radulov said.
With its fourth win in a row, Dallas has 75 points and moved five points ahead of the Avalanche, who slipped behind Arizona and now is the second team out of the second wild card.
“They’re playing with confidence right now. They’re getting great goaltending,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “I thought Bishop was really good again, although I didn’t think we generated enough to win that hockey game, especially when they capitalized on a couple of their chances. And they’re working hard. They’re playing fast.”
Bishop got his 29th career shutout, and has held consecutive teams scoreless for the first time in his 362 career games over 11 NHL seasons. He had 28 saves in that win against the Rangers and has gone more than 124 minutes since giving up a goal.
“Great, like he’s been mostly every time,” defenseman Esa Lindell said. “He helps out the D a lot. He talks, he’s like an extra guy out there when he plays with the puck, helps so much when we break out and obviously makes big saves every night.”
Radulov scored with 3:46 left in the first period when he scored from in front of the net. About midway through the second period, Radulov whizzed another shot past Semyon Varlamov, this time from the top of the right circle.
Benn scored on a one-timer after Jason Dickinson regained control of the puck after his shot was rejected by Varlamov. Dickinson was behind the net when he passed to Benn, who had a hat trick Saturday in St. Louis.
NOTES: Varlamov had 26 saves. He was replaced by backup Philipp Grubauer for a few minutes in the third period after the blade holder on his skate broke. He did return to the game. … Avs LW Gabriel Landeskog left the game late in the third period. “I think Bishop kind of tackled him behind the net, and that’s where he got hurt,” said Mikko Rantanen, who was right behind his teammate when it happened. “I hope it’s nothing serious and we get our captain back in the lineup.” … Stars F Andrew Cogliano was back in the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury. Cogliano, acquired from Anaheim in a trade in mid-January, had never before missed games because of injury in his 12 NHL seasons. … Dallas F Radek Faksa (neck) didn’t play after he missed the final 10 minutes Tuesday when he got hit into the boards.
Avalanche: Host Buffalo on Saturday in the first of four consecutive home games.
Stars: Play their third home game in a row, Saturday against Chicago.