Stars’ News & Rumors: Oettinger & Tufte, Robertson, & More

In this edition of Dallas Stars News & Rumors, a productive homecoming for Jake Oettinger and Riley Tufte, Jason Robertson hits a milestone, & more!

A Successful Homecoming For Oettinger & Tufte 

Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild was a special one for Minnesota natives Jake Oettinger and Riley Tufte. Tufte was a healthy scratch during the Stars last visit to Minnesota while Oettinger played mop-up to Anton Khudobin in a 7-2 defeat. This time around, things went very differently. 

Oettinger continued his recent run of excellent play, making 32 saves on 35 shots on his way to a 6-3 victory. Dallas began the game slowly, leading to multiple breakdowns and grade-a scoring chances for the Wild. Oettinger held strong, making the saves he needed to make and adding a few that dropped our jaws. 

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“Whenever you can get some rubber on you early, I was pretty nervous before the game so it was nice to settle in,” said Oettinger. “From there, it was just another game and the guys just  gave me a bunch of goal support which obviously makes my job easier.”

With the win, Oettinger improved his record to 8-1-1 in his last 10 games. Over that time, he has maintained a spectacular stat line with a .936 save percentage and 1.96 goals-against average. 

Related: Stars Jake Oettinger Has Earned Full Trust of Coaching Staff

Riley Tufte also made a memorable homecoming in front of over 50 members of his friends and family. The young forward played 7:01 but made an impression, recording one hit, two penalty minutes, and his first career NHL goal. The goal itself was adjacent to his playing style as the six-foot-six skilled winger never gave up on the rebound, eventually powering it across the line. 

“I kind of blanked out there,” Tufte joked. “I was kind of falling down when I scored, so I wasn’t sure it went in, but it was an awesome feeling.”

Robertson Hits 100, Twice 

While Jason Robertson has already made his presence known in the league, this past weekend served as yet another coming-out party for him. In games against the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild, Robertson tallied back-to-back hat tricks, the first time in Dallas Stars history that a player has achieved this. 

“He’s pretty incredible, he’s going to have quite a career, that guy,” Stars goalie Braden Holtby said. “He’s one of those guys, and there’s very few of them. They get the puck and their heart rate just slows down. It’s a pretty rare talent, the poise he has. It’s fun to watch.”

Friday’s game in Winnipeg marked the 100th of his NHL career. In 100 games, Robertson tallied 97 points, ranking him 9th among active players. 

Robertson also hit another milestone on Sunday. With his three goals, he reached 100 points in his young career. 100 points in your first 101 games is a heck of a way to start your career. 

“I like to say every game I have a few scoring chances,” Robertson said. “My linemates worked really hard today to get those opportunities and when I start feeling good, you just start to shoot the puck more with more confidence and it’ll go in.” 

No Heiskanen? No Problem

This past weekend also brought a rare occurrence to the Stars lineup. On Friday, Dallas played without Tyler Seguin and Miro Heiskanen, who were both dealing with a non-COVID-related illness. Seguin returned to play on Sunday in Minnesota while Heiskanen missed his second straight game. 

Playing without arguably their best player for two tough Central Division road games is a tall task, but Dallas handled it perfectly. Not only did they win both games but there seemed to be very little drop-off in their play without the young superstar on the blue line.

Miro Heiskanen Dallas Stars-Stars' News & Rumors: Oettinger & Tufte, Robertson, & More
Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“We played really well, simple as that,” Bowness said. “You take away those last eight minutes when they were pressing us pretty good, our 5 on 5 we were pretty good and our specialty teams were really good. And we got the timely saves and the timely goals.”

Related: Stars Heiskanen & Oettinger Make 2017 Draft Class Best in Team History

Heiskanen is not used to missing games. In nearly four seasons, he has missed only five total games. The 22-year-old defenseman continues to play heavy minutes and while his offense has been down a bit recently, he is a future Norris Trophy winner without a doubt. 

The Stars are on a roll. They are 9-2-1 since the All-Star Break, have won four straight games, and are the second-best team in the NHL with a .792 points-percentage over that span. This run has propelled them up the standings, now tied with Minnesota for the third seed in the division (MIN has one fewer game played). They will wrap up their three-game road trip with a rematch in Nashville on Tuesday [March 8] against the team directly beneath them in the standings. 

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