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Dallas Stars forward Roope Hintz, right, celebrates with teammate Mats Zuccarello after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center in Dallas on April 17, 2019.

Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Rookie Roope Hintz scored his first two career postseason goals as the host Dallas Stars cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 4 on Wednesday to even their Western Conference first-round series.

Alexander Radulov and Mats Zuccarello joined Hintz in scoring on the power play, and Andrew Cogliano also tallied for the Stars, whose four goals in the first period were one shy of the franchise record for a single period in the playoffs.

The then-Minnesota North Stars scored five times in the first period of a 6-5 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the 1991 Norris Division semi-finals.

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John Klingberg notched three assists, fellow defenseman Esa Lindell had two, and Ben Bishop made 34 saves for Dallas, which travels to Nashville for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon.

Pekka Rinne, who made 40 saves in a 3-2 win over the Stars in Game 3 on Monday, yielded four goals on eight shots before being relieved by Juuse Saros (20 saves).

Dallas entered Game 4 with just one power-play goal in 13 opportunities in the series, but it made Nashville pay for its infractions on Wednesday.

Hintz wristed a shot from the upper edge of the left circle that beat a screened Rinne to open the scoring 3:42 into the game. The tally snapped Hintz’s 14-game goal drought dating back to the regular season.

Dallas doubled the advantage with another power-play goal just 1:16 later as Radulov floated a shot from the slot that sailed over Rinne’s glove.

Lindell wired a diagonal outlet pass to set up the Stars’ third goal nearly 3 ½ minutes later. Blake Comeau blasted a sharp-angle shot from along the right-wing boards that produced a juicy rebound for Cogliano, who beat a diving Rinne for an easy conversion.

Lindell slid a centering feed to Zuccarello, who sized up his shot from the slot to give Dallas a 4-0 lead with 6:15 remaining of the first period and chase Rinne from the contest.

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Hintz added his second tally midway into the second period after converting Klingberg’s cross-slot feed.

Nashville captain Roman Josi beat a screened Bishop at 8:11 of the third.

Reuters

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