Alexander Radulov recorded his first NHL hat trick, and Ben Bishop was perfect for the second straight game as the Dallas Stars rolled to a 4-0 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche in a key Central Division matchup on Thursday.
The victory, the fourth in a row for Dallas, allowed the Stars to maintain its one-point lead over Minnesota (a 3-0 winner over Tampa Bay on Thursday) for the first Western Conference wild-card position. Dallas is 6-2-0 in its past eight games.
Colorado, which lost for the fourth straight outing, fell five points behind Dallas and four behind Minnesota.
Bishop turned away 31 shots and recorded his fifth shutout of the season and the 29th of his 10-year NHL career. He made 28 saves on Tuesday in a 1-0 win over the New York Rangers, and he has gone more than 144 minutes without allowing a goal.
Bishop is 7-2-0 with three shutouts in his past nine starts.
Radulov was a healthy scratch on Tuesday after being late for a meeting. If he felt as if he had something to prove or had some amends to make, he succeeded Thursday.
Radulov started the scoring with 3:46 to play in the first period when he skated into the crease and tapped to a centering feed from Jamie Benn past Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Jason Spezza also got an assist on the goal.
Dallas added to the lead 8:55 into the second period as Tyler Seguin intercepted a pass near center ice and passed to Radulov, who snapped a shot off the post and into the net.
Benn made it 3-0 at the 5:19 mark of the third period with a crucial insurance goal. He one-timed a perfect pass from Jason Dickinson over the Varlamov’s glove for his sixth goal in his past six games.
Radulov’s third goal came into an empty net with 2:58 to play. It was his 20th goal of the season.
The Avalanche, 6-3-1 in their past 10 games, had defeated Dallas the first two times the teams played this season, both of them in Denver. The Stars and Colorado will play for the final time in the regular season on March 21 in Dallas.