TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Denis Gurianov got off to a slow start at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, but he finished strong. Gurianov scored three goals Tuesday as the Stars closed out the tournament with a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers at Centre Ice Arena.
"Good game. We won," said Gurianov, the Stars' first-round pick (12th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. "I got the hat trick, so I want to thank my partners -- my teammates that gave me pass."
The 20-year-old forward from Russia was quiet in the first two games of the tournament but scored four goals over the finals two game -- all of them over a four-period span.
"I think the first game was the first in the season, so it was a little bit hard," Gurianov said.
But Gurianov's comfort level grew as the tournament moved along. He finally broke through early in the third period of Monday's game with this first goal of the tournament. In Tuesday's game, he scored a goal off the rush, driving the net and banging home the rebound of his own shot to tie the game 1-1 in the second period. He broke the 1-1 tie early in the third, taking a pass from Roope Hintz and scoring off a blast from the right circle with the Stars on a power play. He sealed the victory late in the third, stealing the puck and scoring into an empty net to push the Dallas lead to 3-1.
"I thought Denis, last night and tonight, was outstanding. That's the hockey we need to see consistently," said Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal, who coached the Dallas prospects in Traverse City.
"Give him credit. We talk about him springboarding himself into Dallas camp. I think he has taken that step on that spring board and hopefully jumps right into that camp with some confidence."
The speedy, skilled Gurianov is entering his second season in North America. Last season, he registered 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 57 games. He also played one game in the NHL. He's expected to start in the AHL again this season but will give it his best shot when Dallas opens training camp later this week in Cedar Park.
"I will try to make the team," Gurianov said. "I will try."
Nick Caamano also scored for the Stars Tuesday, tallying just 30 seconds after Gurianov's empty-net goal to put the Stars up 4-1. Hintz, who has centered Gurianov during the tournament, recorded two assists. Hintz showed improvement over the tournament as well, registering three points (one goal, two assists) over the final two games. Landon Bow, who had surrendered 13 goals in his first two starts, was sharp in goal, stopping 23 of 24 shots.
"I liked the way our guys persevered," Laxdal said. "They had a rough first game, played OK the second game, blew a lead and lost. I thought we played really well Monday. We played well 40 minutes tonight and got a good goaltending performance out of Bow. He made some saves when he had to, especially when the game was 2-1. And what can you say about Roope and Denis the last two nights? That's the hockey we need to see out of them consistently."
The Stars, who were 1-2-1, finished in seventh place at the eight-team tournament.
- Denis Gurianov led the Stars with four goals in Traverse City.
- Gurianov (four goals), Roope Hintz (one goal, three assists), Nick Caamano (two goals, two assists), and Jason Robertson (four assists) tied for the team lead in points with four.
- Hintz led the Stars with 15 shots on goal. Gurianov was next with 12.
- Defenseman Eric Sweetman, a Texas Stars signing, led the team with a plus-five rating. Gurianov was next with a plus-four.
- Forward Tomas Soustal, who was a free agent invite, left Tuesday's game with a head injury and did not return.
- Defenseman Chris Martenet missed his second straight game due to illness.
Denis Gurianov - Roope Hintz - Jason Robertson
Nick Caamano - Sheldon Dries - Tomas Soustal
Samuel Laberge - Max French - Brett Davis
Zach Roberts - Shaw Boomhower - Cole Tymkin
Gavin Bayreuther - Niklas Hansson
Eric Sweetman - John Nyberg
Shane Hanna - Ondrej Vala
Scratched: Chris Martenet (illness), Vince Loschiavo
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.