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Stars build big lead, hold on against Kings

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- It was fitting that Jamie Benn was the hero for the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.

The current face of the Stars, Benn had two goals and an assist in a 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Kings on a night when Dallas icon Mike Modano was honored for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame earlier in the week.

Benn was one of four Stars with multiple points in the victory, Dallas' second in a row at American Airlines Center after snapping a seven-game home losing streak Thursday.

"Obviously, we haven't been doing the greatest at home here, but we can turn it around here these next couple games and turn this home-game streak, or whatever we've got here, into a plus," Benn said.

Benn scored both his goals in the first period. He also assisted on the Stars' other goal in the first, when Dallas built a 3-0 lead.

"Yeah, it was a bad start by us. We came out of the gate slow," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "They capitalized on some chances, and we got behind the eight ball."

Tyler Seguin (goal, assist), John Klingberg (goal, assist) and Cody Eakin (two assists) each also had two points for the Stars, who got 37 saves from goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

"Kari was good," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think the third period wasn't the toughest quality, but he still had to make some good saves for us."

Defenseman Jason Demers scored a power-play goal in his Dallas debut.

Justin Williams scored twice for the Kings, who got two assists each from Kyle Clifford and Jarret Stoll.

Benn scored his first goal 14:35 into the first period when he flicked in a wrist shot from the low slot. Seguin started the play by intercepting the puck when Kings center Tyler Toffoli tried to clear it with a carom off the boards near the Stars blue line. Eakin gained possession and passed to Seguin, who fed a streaking Benn by curling his stick around Greene.

Klingberg scored his second goal in as many games at 17:16 of the first when he beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick top shelf from the slot. Klingberg gained possession in the Dallas zone and laid the puck off to Eakin near center ice. Eakin passed to Benn, and the Stars captain passed it back to Klingberg, who finished with a well-placed wrist shot over Quick's glove.

Benn scored his second with two seconds left in the first when he flipped a Klingberg backhand pass in for a power-play goal.

"It was a pretty nice pass there," Benn said. "I didn't expect it coming back to me. I was kind of just wandering around there, and he put it on my tape."

Dallas (8-9-4) put Los Angeles on the power play three times in the first, but the Kings couldn't convert.

"Our power play's not going to win or lose this game," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Power play gave us a chance in the third. I thought our penalty-killing was not as good as our power play."

Dallas appeared to score its fourth goal less than a minute into the second period, but the referees ruled Benn had interfered with Quick as Alex Goligoski put the puck in the Los Angeles net.

The Stars did go ahead 4-0 at 3:57 when Seguin beat Quick through the five-hole for his NHL-leading 15th goal. Lehtonen got the assist with a pass up the middle of the ice. Seguin received the puck near the Kings blue line and went in alone on Quick.

"I hopped on the ice and kind of cheated. I don't know if [Lehtonen] looked up and knew I was there. I think he was kind of just throwing it up the ice because no one was there. It was good timing," Seguin said. "I said to myself before the game that if I got a breakaway I wanted to shoot five-hole."

Los Angeles (11-6-4) scored the next two, first at 9:32 of the second when Tanner Pearson scored off a rebound. Muzzin took a hard slap shot from the left point, but Lehtonen turned it away. The carom fell to Pearson, and he converted from the right circle.

The Kings cut it to 4-2 at 12:16 of the second when Williams scored in similar fashion with the Kings on the power play. Lehtonen denied Brayden McNabb's shot from the slot with a pad save, but Williams tapped in the rebound.

The Stars answered with 2:07 remaining in the second when Demers ripped a slap shot over Quick's blocker from the blue line with Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr off for hooking.

Demers' first goal of the season came one day after he was acquired in a trade with the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Brenden Dillon.

"I thought good first game," Ruff said of Demers. "I think he lost his guy on the fourth goal in front of the net, but his energy was good. He did some good things. I liked his game."

Los Angeles quickly cut the Dallas lead to 5-3 when a Mike Richards shot from the left circle deflected in off the stick of Stars rookie defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka at 18:29.

The Kings cut it to 5-4 at 10:44 of the third when Williams scored his second of the game, again off a rebound.

"Once we decided to go there and shoot the puck, yeah, there was plenty (of pucks) there kicking around waiting for us," Williams said.

Dallas finished the game on a power play after Jeff Carter was called for slashing Patrick Eaves with 1:29 remaining. Quick, who made 18 saves, left the net with 54 seconds remaining.

Los Angeles fell to 1-4-3 on the road.

"Yes, it does (bother me)," Sutter said. "I think tonight what bothers me more is (losing) the season series."

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