Whether he's wearing Victory Green or the red, white and blue, Jason Robertson delivers.
Coming off a stellar 2020-21 rookie campaign with the Stars, the 21-year-old carried that momentum into the 2021 IIHF Men's World Championship, scoring the lone goal for Team USA in a 2-1 loss to Finland on Saturday. This was the opening game for both clubs in the tournament, which runs through June 6.
Skating on Team USA's top line with LA's Trevor Moore and Arizona's Conor Garland, Robertson finished with a goal and three shots in 15:00 TOI and was named the player of the game for the United States.
This marked Robertson's World Championship debut, having represented the United States on the international stage once before at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver. There, Robertson led Team USA to a silver medal and finished the tournament tied for second on the team in scoring with seven points (one goal, six assists) in seven games.
Robertson said the atmosphere in Riga is a little different from what it was in Vancouver, but the opportunity to represent the United States again is a special experience.
"It certainly feels different in Europe," he said during a second-intermission TV interview on Saturday. "I remember the first time I did it was in World Juniors in Vancouver. That was a little more hostile than it is here. It's a pretty cool experience with different guys from different leagues playing together to represent our country. It's pretty neat."
[Complete coverage: Follow Oettinger, Robertson and Shea's quest for gold at Worlds]
Robertson's power-play goal on Saturday got the United States on the board and cut a two-goal deficit in half with 1:59 remaining in the second period. Had it not been for his hand-eye coordination to bat down the pass out of mid-air, the play might've resulted in an icing. Instead, Robertson settled the pass, skated in and fired a wrist shot that snuck past Finland goaltender Jussi Olkinuora.
Robertson, who led all NHL rookies in assists (28), ranked tied for second in goals (17) and second overall in points (45) during the regular season, said he's using what he learned with the Stars and applying it with Team USA.
"I just try to keep the same detail and structure that I learned in my first rookie-year pro," he said. "Before that, some of the details were lacking. Here, I just want to bring what I learned, be a good pro for this team and help this team win."
Team USA returns to action on Sunday, May 23 against Canada (12:15 p.m. CT) with coverage on NHL Network.
NOTE: Goaltender Jake Oettinger served as a backup to starter Cal Petersen against Finland, while Texas Stars defenseman Ryan Shea didn't dress.
The 2021 IIHF World Championship is taking place in Riga, Latvia. The 16-nation tournament began May 21 and runs through June 6. For complete coverage, click here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Kyle Shohara is the Digital Manager for DallasStars.com and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @kyleshohara.