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Jamie Benn scores twice as Stars top Flames, 4-2

Kari Lehtonen stops 29 shots as Stars end three-game skid

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars bounced back from Tuesday's ugly loss in Winnipeg with a solid win in Calgary Thursday. Jamie Benn scored two goals, including the game-winner 7:20 into the third period, as the Stars defeated the Flames, 4-2, at Scotiabank Saddledome.

"After a tough game in Winnipeg it was nice to come in here, grind one out and find a way to win," Benn said.

Benn, who hadn't scored a goal in his past nine games, notched his second of the night and fourth of the season with the Stars on the power play to snap a 2-2 tie in the third period. Benn took a pass from Tyler Seguin and scored into an open net from the top of the crease to give the Stars a 3-2 lead.

"We found a way to take advantage of the power play," Benn said. "[Antoine Roussel] made a great play and Seggy made a great pass."

Benn, who had offseason surgery to repair a core muscle injury, came into the game with just two goals in his first 13 games and hadn't scored a goal since Oct. 20.

"I think we all knew he was going to come out of it," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "He came out physical, he was skating through people, and he found a couple of opportunities to score."

Video: Benn pots a pair to lead Stars in 4-2 win over Flames

Roussel sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 54 seconds remaining. That goal capped off the Gordie Howe hat trick for Roussel, who assisted on Benn's game-winner and fought Calgary's Micheal Ferland after the Calgary forward nailed Seguin with a big hit early in the second.

Lauri Korpikoski also scored, and Kari Lehtonen stopped 29 of 31 shots for the Stars, who snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 5-6-3 on the season.

Johnny Gaudreau scored both goals for Calgary, which lost for the fifth time in the last six games and fell to 5-9-1 on the season. The Flames were 0-2 on the power play, including one in the final minutes of the game. Calgary has failed to score on the power play in seven straight games.

"It's difficult. We get the power play with three minutes left. We worked on special teams [in practice] the past couple days because it is so important," Gaudreau said. "And then we gave up one on the penalty kill and didn't score on the power play. We have to get better at that because it helps you win games."

The Flames had an 8-1 shots advantage and a power play chance by the midway point of the first period, but Lehtonen was sharp in goal and kept it a scoreless game. The Stars, who outshot the Flames 9-2 over the second half of the period, got on the board when Radek Faksa backhanded the puck from the end boards to Korpikoski, who roofed a shot from the right circle to put Dallas up 1-0 at 12:31 of the first.

The Stars extended the lead to 2-0 at the 15:35 mark on Benn's first goal of the night. Benn took a pass from John Klingberg off the rush, cut into the slot and put a backhand shot past Flames goaltender Brian Elliott.

The Flames outshot the Stars 10-4 in the second and got two goals from Gaudreau to tie the game. After a Stephen Johns turnover in the Dallas end, defenseman Brett Kulak put a shot on net from the left circle and Gaudreau scored on the rebound to make it 2-1 at the 1:33 mark. The Flames tied it just under two minutes later when Kulak sent the puck towards the net and Gaudreau deflected it past Lehtonen from the slot at the 3:31 mark to tie the game 2-2.

And then Benn snapped the tie with his power-play goal in the third, and the Stars were on their way to getting two points and shaking off that 8-2 loss in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

"It's a good bounce-back game," Ruff said. "That room was hurting after the Winnipeg game, and you have to give them a lot of credit for bouncing back and winning the game."

Notes: Sharp skates, could play this weekend

*Stars forward Patrick Sharp, who has been out since Oct. 20 with a concussion, skated with the team Thursday morning. He could play on the final game of the road trip Sunday in Vancouver.

"It's a step in the right direction and some light at the end of the tunnel for him," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's feeling better. Hopefully, we can get him two or three practices, and he can be ready possibly for Sunday."

*Center Jason Spezza missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. He is listed as day to day.

*The Flames outshot the Stars 31-22 and had a 59-38 advantage in shot attempts.

*Jamie Benn led the Stars with 4 shots on goal and Patrick Eaves was tops with 7 shot attempts.

*The Stars were 1-3 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 33 of 66 faceoffs (50 percent).

*Justin Dowling won 7 of 11 faceoffs (64 percent). Devin Shore won 5 of 9 (56 percent). Radek Faksa won 12 of 27 (44 percent). Tyler Seguin won 6 of 14.

*Stephen Johns led the Stars with 5 hits including a big one on Flames forward Micheal Ferland.

*John Klingberg led the Stars with 23:31 of ice time.

What's Next

The Stars continue their road trip Friday when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Friday at Rogers Place. It will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams. The Oilers are off to a strong start this season, posting a 9-4-1 record in their first 14 games.

Stars Lineup

Jamie Benn - Radek Faksa - Lauri Korpikoski
Antoine Roussel - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Curtis McKenzie - Devin Shore - Brett Ritchie
Gemel Smith - Justin Dowling - Adam Cracknell

Dan Hamhuis - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

Scratched: Esa Lindell, Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Jason Spezza (lower body), Jiri Hudler (illness), Patrick Sharp (concussion), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)

Watch: Postgame Quotes

Jamie Benn: "We've got to learn as a group here that it's not easy to win in this league and every night you've got to bring it. We're right back at it tomorrow."

Tyler Seguin: "That's what we needed. We needed our leaders, especially our captain to lead the way."

Lindy Ruff: "I think tonight was the best game he (Benn) has played in a while."

Razor: "Antoine Roussel extended his assist streak to four games and also finished with the old Gordie Howe hat trick."

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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