The Dallas Stars went to a shootout again Wednesday night, but this time they came out on top. Jamie Benn scored a power play goal in regulation and then tallied in the shootout as the Stars defeated the Florida Panthers, 3-2, at American Airlines Center.
It was a strong performance for Benn, who led the Stars with six shots on goal and ten total shots directed towards the net and drew a penalty in the game with a brilliant rush up the ice.
“I think it was the pre-game meal,” Benn joked. “I don’t know what it was, but I felt good right from warmup. Obviously, I want to keep getting better each and every exhibition game. I am going back to left wing, I felt pretty comfortable there tonight and I want to keep building off that.”
“I thought Jamie was very good,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He was shooting the puck a little more tonight. The other night he mentioned he was passing it off too many times. I thought he skated well, I thought he shot the puck well. I thought a couple of moves he made going through the neutral zone were pretty good.”
Cody Eakin also scored in regulation for the Stars, who improved to 1-0-1 in preseason play. Alex Chiasson scored a shootout goal. Kari Lehtonen stopped all ten shots he faced in 31:15 of playing time. Cristopher Nilstorp made 12 saves on 14 shots in regulation and overtime and stopped both shots he saw in the shootout.
The Stars, who had some defensive issues in their preseason opener Sunday against St. Louis, were much better Wednesday.
“I thought after the first period we played a pretty sound defensive game,” Ruff said. “We got a couple of goals in the second and the overall play on the defensive side I thought was good.”
There wasn’t much in the way of offense for almost two periods Wednesday night. The two teams almost made it a full two periods without a goal. But the Stars finally broke the scoreless tie late in the second, tallying twice in 30 seconds to take a 2-0 lead.
The first goal came with 3:00 with period. Sergei Gonchar sent a cross-ice pass from the right point to Ray Whitney, who quickly tapped the puck to the slot, where Eakin ripped it past Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Just 30 seconds later Benn struck with the Stars on the power play, beating Markstrom with a snap shot to make it a 2-0 game.
The Panthers got two quick goals by Nilstorp late in the third period to tie the game. With 3:58 left in the third period Drew Shore scored to cut the Stars’ lead to 2-1. Just 14 seconds later Florida’s Scottie Upshall scored off the rush to tie the game at 2-2.
Benn had a couple of good chances to end the game in overtime, but Markstrom made a nice pad stop on a Benn backhand shot and then Benn had a shot go off the post with the Stars on the power play late in the extra period.
In the shootout, Alex Chiasson and Benn scored for the Stars. Nilstorp stopped Florida’s Brad Boyes and Aleksander Barkov, giving the Stars the victory.
Notes: Scott Glennie injured
*Stars forward Scott Glennie was injured late in the game during a collision at the net. Stars coach Lindy Ruff didn’t have much of an update after the game, but said Glennie, who appeared to have a leg injury, will see the doctors on Thursday.
“It looks like it will be a period of time,” Ruff said. “He’ll see our doctors tomorrow.”
*Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and Panthers forward Garrett Wilson picked up fighting majors in the third period. Both players also picked up minor penalties for removing their helmets prior to the fight. The penalty for removing the helmet prior to a fight is a new rule this season. .
*Brenden Dillon led the Stars with five hits. Valeri Nichushkin had four hits.
*The Stars won 31 of 66 (47 percent) faceoffs on Wednesday. Cody Eakin won 9 of 18. Tyler Seguin won 9 of 23.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars.