DETROIT (AP) — Jakub Vrana scored four goals in a game for the first time to help the Detroit Red Wings rout the Dallas Stars 7-3 Thursday night and match their total number of wins from last season.
Detroit picked up its 17th victory in its 49th game, a year after winning 17 of 71 games in the previous pandemic-shortened season.
The defending Western Conference champion Stars are vying with Nashville and Chicago to earn the Central Division’s fourth and final postseason berth.
The teams will play a fourth straight game on Saturday night.
Vrana, acquired in a blockbuster trade with Washington for Anthony Mantha, scored his second goal in the second period. He added two more in the third period. Sam Gagner scored into an empty net, giving Detroit a season-high seven goals. Luke Glendening and Richard Panik also scored. Thomas Greiss finished with 43 saves.
Radek Faksa and Joe Pavelski scored in the second period and Denis Gurianov had a goal with 6:31 left in the third, pulling Dallas within two goals each time.
Anton Khudobin gave up three goals on nine shots in the first and was benched by the Stars. Jake Oettinger didn’t fare much better, allowing three goals on 13 shots.
Detroit ended its three-game losing streak against a team that had won four games in a row.
Mantha was the last Red Wing to score four goals in a game, pulling off the feat on Oct. 6, 2019.
Pavelski scored for the 20th time this season, giving him at least that many goals for the 11th time in his career. Among NHL players drafted in the seventh round or later, five players have had more seasons with 20 goals: Luc Robitaille, Peter Bondra, Doug Gilmour, Theo Fleury and Dave Taylor.