The Dallas Stars celebrated AT&T Free Hat Night in style, exploding for four goals in the second period – three of them from 21-year-old Tyler Seguin.
His first goal came just :39 into the second period, his second at 17:03, and he made it a natural hat trick just 40 seconds later, giving him a whole bunch of hats that are presumably all branded with the AT&T logo (none, however, are as stylish as the team’s player-of-the-game cowboy hat).
Seguin also assisted on Valeri Nichuskin’s fourth goal of the season just :22 later, as the Stars piled up three goals against the Flyers in a span of just 1:02, chasing Philly goalie Steve Mason.
It was the second hat trick of the season for the 21-year-old Seguin, who scored four times against Calgary on Nov. 14, but hadn’t scored in six games while also missing a pair with concussion-like symptoms. He now has a 15-12-27 line in 26 games on the season, with three game-winners and a pretty outrageous 18.5 shooting percentage.
The boom-or-bust season is echoed by the rest of the Stars, who sit at 14-9-5, in fifth place in the seven-team Central Division, and are mired in 10th in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. The team is hopeful that Seguin, the former No. 2 overall pick in 2010 acquired in a blockbuster offseason trade with Boston, can find consistency in Dallas and showcase the talent and touch that made him a mouth-watering prospect in juniors and a star during the Bruins’ march to the Stanley Cup in 2011. He’s a co-focal point of a young, talented roster alongside 24-year-old winger Jamie Benn, 23-year-old forward Alex Chiasson, 23-year-old defenseman Brenden Dillon, and 10th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, 18-year-old Valeri Nichushkin, who is finding his groove after a slow start.
As Mason found out in a one-minute span in the second period of the Stars’ 5-1 win on Saturday, Dallas is still developing their chemistry, and that’s a scary thing for the rest of the NHL.