LOS ANGELES -- Jordie Benn scored the game-winning goal with under five minutes left and Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves to help the Dallas Stars defeat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 and give Stars coach Lindy Ruff his 700th career win at Staples Center on Saturday.
"It means I've been around a long time," said Ruff, who began his head coaching career with the Buffalo Sabres in 1997 and joined the Stars in 2013. "I'm looking forward to the next 700."
It was a playoff-type atmosphere between teams that may eventually face one another in the postseason. The Kings held a lead twice but the Stars used their speed and net presence to rally.
"Those games, we've got to get used to them now," Jordie Benn said. "They push pretty hard, they've got some heavy guys. If we can weather the storm and weather them coming at us like that, we can use our speed and come out like we did tonight."
Video: DAL@LAK: Ja. Benn evens the game with PPG late in 1st
Benn scored at 15:52 of the third period, his first goal since Dec. 21 and second of the season. Colton Sceviour got the puck out from down low and went up top to Patrick Nemeth, and Benn one-timed Nemeth's pass from the left wall.
"That was awesome," Benn said. "Our forwards were battling down low and you never expect it to get to the top. Usually you just want to grind it down low and see what happens, but it came from down low up top and (Nemeth) slid over to me and I just tried to shoot it as hard as I could."
The Stars (48-22-9), who have won four straight games and seven of their past eight, extended their Central Division lead on the St. Louis Blues to four points.
The Kings (46-27-5) failed to increase their Pacific Division lead over the Anaheim Ducks, who host the Stars on Sunday. Los Angeles is one point ahead of Anaheim with 97 points.
"They're a high-scoring team. I think they're the highest-scoring team in the League by a long shot," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "They're not a team you want to trade chances with. They're a big team and they're a real strong team. I think we shot the puck into the stands to avoid their forecheck and it cost us a goal."
Video: DAL@LAK: Eaves buries a loose puck, ties game in 3rd
The Stars dominated the first period and were outshooting the Kings 15-6 when Tanner Pearson scored for Los Angeles at 17:37. Anze Kopitar fed Pearson from the neutral zone and his slap shot from the point beat Lehtonen to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
But with 2.9 seconds left and the Stars on a power play, Jamie Benn tied the game when he beat goalie Jonathan Quick with a wrist shot from the edge of the right circle. It was Benn's 41st goal of the season and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.
Carter scored his fifth goal in the past three games at 9:50 of the second period when he caught a bouncing puck and put it past Lehtonen to put the Kings ahead 2-1.
Dallas tied it again at 5:57 of the third period. Antoine Roussel drove to the net and Quick kicked the rebound right to Patrick Eaves, who scored his second goal in as many games.
Video: DAL@LAK: Carter creates turnover, scores a goal
"I thought we came out real good, played a heck of a first period and (Kings goalie Jonathan) Quick made some great saves," Ruff said. "I thought both teams had a lot of intensity and it was a heck of a hockey game."
Quick made 36 saves, keeping Los Angeles in the game when the Stars pushed hard in the first period.
"Actually, I'm not quite sure how to categorize it," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "We started slow and it probably should have been more than a tie game. We should have been in a hole probably. We started to come around, but we just didn't get the job done, plain and simple. When the time came for them to make a play and execute and get some gritty goals, they did."
Stars forward Mattias Janmark left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury. Ruff said he would be "out for a little bit," ruling him out for the game Sunday.
Video: Stars extend Central lead in 3-2 win over Kings