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Stars Rout Sharks, But Are Eliminated From Playoff Race

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn notched two goals and one assist to lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-1 victory in San Jose Monday night, but Benn wasn’t in the mood for celebrating. Three minutes into their game against the Sharks, the Stars were eliminated from the playoff race when Winnipeg defeated Minnesota.

“There’s not much to celebrate anymore,” Benn said. “We didn’t do our job this year and that is pretty much it.”

The Stars did keep it interesting down the stretch. Before Monday, they won 11 of 16 games to stay in the race until the final week of the regular season.

“We’ve played good hockey for a long period,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “There haven’t been many games where we haven’t skated well or have been dominated. We had some tough losses on some big mistakes, but from an energy and play standpoint, we’ve played good hockey for a long period of time.

“The one thing I like is this team has no quit. We came out and got a goal right off the bat tonight. We’ve faced a lot of adversity that should help us. We’ve had some tough losses and some hard lessons.”

Despite knowing they were out of the playoffs, the Stars rolled out an impressive performance against San Jose Monday night, building a 3-0 lead by eight minutes into the second period.

“Personally, I’ve never not made the playoffs or played in these games that don’t mean anything. It’s frustrating. But you try not to create bad habits,” Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. “Have a mini training camp here for a few days and work on systems stuff. I thought tonight we did a good job.”

Colton Sceviour, Patrick Eaves and Ryan Garbutt also scored for the Stars. Seguin and Jason Spezza each had two assists. Goaltender Jhonas Enroth, making his second consecutive start, was sharp in net, stopping 23 of 24 shots.

“I told those guys who gets going and wins is going to play,” Ruff said. “I told Jhonas the same thing.”

Benn’s three-point night gave him a career-high 80 points (32 goals, 48 assists). He is one point behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the NHL scoring lead.

“For starting a little slow he has put together a heck of a year,” Ruff said.

Winnipeg’s win over Minnesota eliminated the Sharks from the playoff race as well. San Jose will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

"The very first thing I told our guys in training camp was we're here to win. And we did the least amount of that this season, and it's a tough pill to swallow,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. “We're all involved in it in some way, shape or form, and...disappointing, very disappointing.”

It was an eventful first minute of the game. Sceviour banged home the rebound of a Jason Demers shot 32 seconds into the game to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. On the faceoff after the goal, Stars forward Antoine Roussel and Sharks forward Mike Brown dropped the gloves.

The Stars extended their lead to 2-0 at 17:3 of the first, cashing in on their third power play of the night. 3 put a shot on net from the right point and Eaves scored off the ensuing scramble in front of Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock.

There were more power play opportunities for the Stars in the second. They had 46 seconds of five-on-three time and cashed in when Seguin sent a cross-ice pass to Benn, who roofed a shot from the bottom of the right circle to make it a 3-0 game at 7:53 of the period.

San Jose got on the board by taking advantage of their second power play of the night. Joe Thornton scored from the slot off the rush to make it a 3-1 game at 13:27 of the second.

The Stars added two more goals in the third period. Seguin set up Benn for a close range tap-in at the 15:08 mark. Garbutt came out of the penalty box, took a pass from Trevor Daley and scored on a breakaway at 18:00 of the third.

Notes

*Stars captain Jamie Benn leads the NHL in scoring since the All-Star break with 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) in 34 games.

*Stars center Tyler Seguin has points in five straight games (four goals, five assists).

*Garbutt’s goal was his first since December 31.

*The Stars are 7-1-0 in their past eight games on the road.

*The Stars are 13-6-1 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Stars outshot the Sharks 25-24 and had a 61-60 advantage in attempted shots.

*The Stars were 2-6 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 24 of 58 faceoffs (41 percent).

*Jason Spezza won 10 of 13 draws (77 percent). Jamie Benn won 5 of 7 (71 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 6 of 17 (35 percent). Cody Eakin won 2 of 15 (13 percent).

*John Klingberg led the Stars with 22:57 of ice time.

Stars lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves

Shawn HorcoffJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt

Travis MoenVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Jyrki JokipakkaTrevor Daley

Jordie BennJason Demers

Jhonas Enroth

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Valeri Nichushkin

Injured: None

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