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'He's a force': Benn's hat trick leads Stars past Hurricanes

The captain strikes for three goals and Dallas scores twice on the power play to earn its fourth win in six games

by Jeff Odom @jeffodom /

DALLAS -- In honor of Military Appreciation Night, the Stars gave away free hats to the first 10,000 fans in attendance Tuesday at American Airlines Center.

Jamie Benn made sure many of them didn't make it out of the arena for the ride home.


[WATCH: All highlights from Stars' win over Hurricanes]


Awarded an empty-net goal late in the third period, the captain sent the black and green camoflauge caps raining onto the ice with his sixth career hat trick in Dallas' 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Video: CAR@DAL: Benn records sixth NHL hat trick

It was the first three-score game for Benn since March 2019 against the Blues. Denis Gurianov also netted his 16th for Dallas and Miro Heiskanen added two assists.

"The boys were giving it to me to smile," quipped Benn, who is now team's leading goal scorer with 18 on the season. "I try not to in those scenarios, but it felt good however many military hats were thrown onto the ice. Sorry for the fans for not taking those home, but it felt good."

Video: CAR@DAL: Khudobin reaches back to rob Teravainen

The Stars improved to 32-19-5 overall with the win -- their fourth in six games -- getting a pair of power-play goals in the second period and a strong effort from starting netminder Anton Khudobin, who stopped 24 shots.

"That was one of our better games for 60 minutes for sure," said Stars interim coach Rick Bowness, who returned to the bench after missing Saturday's win over St. Louis because of illness. "We talked before the game about how we had a great first period against Minnesota, regardless of what the score said. Tonight was another example of where we easily could have had three or four goals in that first period. Their goalie made a lot of big saves but that's how we want to come out of the gate and it's our home ice and we have to take advantage of it. 

"I thought for the full 60 minutes the guys battled very hard and did all the little things necessary."

Video: CAR@DAL: Benn fires home cross-ice feed

Benn got Dallas on the board with 12:06 remaining in the first, depositing a nice cross-ice feed from Stephen Johns past Carolina's Petr Mrazek for the early 1-0 lead.

After Sebastian Aho knotted it at 1-1 late in the opening period, finishing a pretty passing play from Andrei Svechnikov and Jaccob Slavin to beat Khudobin, the Stars took advantage of some penalty trouble for the Hurricanes in the middle frame.

Video: CAR@DAL: Gurianov scorches PPG, knocks off bottle cap

Gurianov blasted home a one-timer from the right circle that knocked the cap off Mrazek's Gatorade bottle for a power-play goal at 12:36. Benn followed with a wrister on the man advantage three minutes later.

Dallas went 2-for-4 on the power play for the game.

"They had a little tough time getting going early, but when they get going, the power play has been very good," Bowness said of Dallas' man advantage, which has now found the back of the net in five straight games.

Video: CAR@DAL: Benn awarded goal to complete hat trick

Dallas staved off a dangerous Carolina flurry in front of Khudobin to open the third and held on the rest of the way. Benn was awarded an empty-net goal to complete the hat trick when he was tripped by Svechnikov while attempting to shoot at 18:41.

"When he gets going like that, he's a force," Bowness said of Benn. "He's tough to haul down as you saw with the empty-netter. Good for him, he's worked very hard. ... That's how you win, you win with different guys chipping in and stepping up every game, and Jamie stepped up tonight."


Pavelski misses game with upper-body injury

Joe Pavelski, listed as a game-time decision because of an upper-body injury, was held out of the lineup against Carolina.

The veteran forward skated with the team during pregame warmup, but Bowness said Pavelski didn't feel completely ready to return. With Pavelski out, Mattias Janmark moved to center and rookie winger Joel Kiviranta remained in the lineup for the second consecutive game, finishing with a blocked shot in 10:24 of ice time

"He tried in warmup and it wasn't good, so better to be a little cautious," Bowness said afterward. "We've got a lot of hockey coming up."

Additionally, Alexander Radulov returned, as expected, after missing Saturday's game at St. Louis with an upper-body injury. He totaled two shots on net in 14:32.

Video: CAR@DAL: Bowness on Benn's effort in win over 'Canes


Fast facts
  • Gurianov now has goals in three of his last four games and 22 points on the year. His team-leading 12 goals on home ice are the second-most ever by a Stars rookie in a single season since the club moved to Dallas in 1993.

  • Heiskanen's pair of helpers tied the second-year defenseman's career high.

  • Johns' assist was the blueliner's first point at American Airlines Center since March 2018. He has recorded one goal and three assists in seven games since returning from an extended absence because of post-traumatic headaches.

  • Tuesday was Jamie Oleksiak's 300th career game (217 with Dallas and 83 with Pittsburgh).

  • Before the game, the Stars loaned defenseman Taylor Fedun to Texas for a conditioning assignment. The 31-year-old has nine points in 27 games this season, but has not appeared in a game with Dallas since Jan. 11 at San Jose.

Video: Canes' struggles in Dallas continue thanks to Benn


They said it

"You could see that he was on his game. He gets that puck down at the top of the circle down around the net and he's a tough man to stop. He was on his game tonight and it's a good line for us right now. They didn't score tonight but they're doing a lot of good things and Corey is a big part of that."

-- Bowness on veteran forward Corey Perry's play of late

Video: CAR@DAL: Benn discusses sixth career hat trick

"As you saw tonight, his shot is pretty sick. He can pick his spot. His speed is pretty tough to defend, and if you put those two together, it's a heck of a hockey of a player."

-- Benn on Gurianov


Up next

The Stars head back on the road for a three-game swing north of the border, beginning with Thursday's matchup against the Maple Leafs at 6 p.m. CT (TV: FS-SW; Radio: KTCK). Dallas dropped its only meeting with Toronto on Jan. 29 -- a 5-3 home loss at American Airlines Center.

Join the Stars for Hockey Is For Everyone Night when they return home to take on the Arizona Coyotes at American Airlines Center on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Get your tickets now!

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Jeff Odom is the manager of and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @jeffodom.

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