Newly acquired Jakub Vrana scores 4, Red Wings top Stars 7-3

Detroit Red Wings' Jakub Vrana plays against the Dallas Stars in the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Detroit Red Wings' Jakub Vrana plays against the Dallas Stars in the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – Jakub Vrana scored four goals in a game for the first time to help the Detroit Red Wings rout the Dallas Stars 7-3 Thursday night and match their total number of wins from last season.

Detroit picked up its 17th victory in its 49th game, a year after winning 17 of 71 games in the previous pandemic-shortened season.

“We aren’t in the playoffs, but we’re trying to play the best we can every night and try to build something," Vrana said.

The defending Western Conference champion Stars are vying with Nashville and Chicago to earn the Central Division's fourth and final postseason berth. The teams will play a fourth straight game on Saturday night.

Vrana, acquired in a blockbuster trade with Washington for Anthony Mantha, scored his second goal in the second period. He added two more in the third period.

“Since Day 1, everyone was really helpful," said Vrana, who has 16 goals this season. “There’s a new system and new teammates and you’re just trying to figure it out. It has clicked so far, but there’s still a lot we can do better.”

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net, giving Detroit a season-high seven goals. Luke Glendening and Richard Panik also scored. Thomas Greiss finished with 43 saves.

Radek Faksa and Joe Pavelski scored in the second period and Denis Gurianov had a goal with 6:31 left in the third, pulling Dallas within two goals each time.