Benn leads Stars to 2-1 win over Flames
Dec. 20, 2014
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Jamie Benn provided the Dallas Stars with all the offense they would need Friday night.
Benn had a goal and an assist as the Dallas Stars edged Calgary 2-1 on Friday night, the Flames' seventh straight loss.
"We wanted to play good team defense and take advantage of their mistakes. I don't think we wanted to go run-and-gun with them," Benn said. "They're kind of a desperate team right now and that's a dangerous team. I thought we did a pretty good job."
Trevor Daley also scored for the Stars (15-10-4), while Kari Lehtonen, starting his fifth game in a row, made 21 saves.
After being held without a point Wednesday in the Stars' 2-0 win over Vancouver, Tyler Seguin had an assist to take over the NHL scoring lead with 39 points (23 goals, 16 assists). He is one point up on Evgeni Malkin and Jakub Voracek.
"I just kind of pick-pocketed him there. It was kind of a lucky break," said Benn, who moved into the top 20 in NHL scoring with 28 points.
Mark Giordano scored for Calgary (17-15-2), which has lost seven consecutive games for the first time since its team-record 11-game skid in 1985-86. Jonas Hiller stopped 19 shots.
Dallas has won three in a row to move within seven points of the Los Angeles Kings, who hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
After a scoreless first period, the Stars took the lead for good four minutes into the second. Calgary rookie Markus Granlund won a face-off in the Flames end but Kris Russell missed the puck in front of Calgary's net, allowing Benn to reel it in and beat Hiller on a backhand.
Dallas scored when Daley took a pass from Benn and burst down the right side, ripping a shot over Hiller's shoulder as the Flames goaltender dropped to the ice.
The Stars will attempt to complete a perfect three-game road sweep through Western Canada when they play in Edmonton on Sunday.
The Flames started off the season an impressive 17-8-2. But they haven't picked up a point since beating Colorado on Dec. 4.
"We had such a great start to the year, we don't want to just waste it in just this one stretch here," Calgary center Joe Colborne said. "We trust our leadership, we trust our systems right now and it's just a matter of going out and doing it."
The Flames closed the gap to 2-1 with 1:15 left in the second period on a weird goal.
After intercepting Daley's clearing attempt at the blue line, Giordano wristed a knuckler toward the net that appeared to dip on the way and eluded Lehtonen.
"Our guys played very well in front of me," said Lehtonen, who was tested only 22 times in improving to 13-7-5 this season. "It's been a long time coming. It's been such an up-and-down season so far. It's been nice to be able to play a few good games in a row now."
Despite only being down one goal, Calgary failed to generate any sustained pressure in the third period.
The Flames' best chance came with 28 seconds left when they got a power play and had an opportunity to tie it with Hiller pulled.
NOTES: Matt Stajan was a healthy scratch for Calgary for the second time in five games. ... Among those not dressed for Dallas was Jordie Benn (illness). ... With 23 goals in the Stars first 30 games, Seguin had the third-highest goal total through that point in team history. Dino Ciccarelli had 29 in 1986-87 and had 26 in 1981-82. ... The last time the Flames lost seven games in a row in regulation time was December 2-17, 1974, when the franchise was in Atlanta. The 11-game losing streak in 1986 included an overtime loss although at the time, overtime losses weren't worth a point, which is why it stands as the official team record for losing streak.