Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn has been coming on the past couple games, and Monday night the production came. Benn had a hand in all three Dallas goals – scoring two and assisting on the other – as the Stars defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2, in Denver.
“Our big guy came to play and he’s getting into form,” said Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan. “The way he shoots the puck and releases the puck, it is fun to watch. As a coach it gives you a sense of calmness when he’s out there. I think that’s what every coach in this league likes about their best players.”
And Benn was the Stars’ best player on this night. He scored the first goal of the game, stealing the puck from Colorado’s Matt Hunwick and scoring on a breakaway 2:21 into the first period. Then, after the Stars had surrendered a 2-0 lead, he scored on a wrist shot from the slot late in the second to give the Stars a 3-2 lead that they would make hold up for the rest of the night.
“Jamie had a great game. He took over the game,” said linemate Jaromir Jagr. “That’s his team and that’s the way he has to play right now for us to be a successful team.”
Benn missed training camp and the first four games of the season due to a contract negotiation with the Stars. He had just one assist in his first four games of the season, but he seems to be rounding into form.
“I felt pretty good tonight, probably one of my better nights,” said Benn. “I want to keep building from here and be as consistent as possible and kind of ride this into the next game.”
Benn’s other linemate, Stars captain Brenden Morrow, also chipped in, scoring his first goal of the season when he banged home the rebound of a Jagr shot to give the Stars a 2-0 lead just past the midway point of the first period.
“He put in a tremendous amount of work and he’s a very focused individual right now,” Gulutzan said of Morrow. “We needed Brenden to step up and he has. He’s the leader of this group and he’s got to step up. That line (with Morrow, Benn and Jagr) is getting some chemistry. You can write things down as much as you want in the summertime, but you never know when it appears and it seems to be jelling pretty good.”
The game marked the return of center Derek Roy, who had missed the last five games with a groin injury. Roy logged 21:00 of ice time in the game, and had the primary assist on Benn’s game-winner. Roy started the night centering Loui Eriksson and Tomas Vincour, but midway through the game Michael Ryder took over for Vincour, who moved onto a line with Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith.
“I like the balance on all the lines now,” said Gulutzan. “Cody Eakin has emerged as a guy that is reliable. Smitty played hard tonight. I thought VInny played hard. And then you have Fidds (Vernon Fiddler), (Eric) Nystrom and (Antoine) Roussel that you can play against anybody.”
The victory snapped a three-game road losing streak for the Stars, who improved to 2-4-0 away from home and 4-5-1 overall.
“We’ve been trying to figure it out here,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We have periods of not playing very good and short ones of playing good games. We’ve been inconsistent, but tonight we were pretty consistent throughout and it’s kind of what we are looking for.”
*The Stars almost doubled their road goal production by scoring three in Monday’s game. They came into the game with just four goals in their first five road games.
*The Stars were 0-4 on the power play, but they did score on goal on a 6-on-5 delayed penalty. They were 4-5 on the penalty kill.
*Jamie Benn, Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Dillon and Stephane Robidas were all a plus-2 in the game. Robidas leads the Stars with a plus-6 rating this season.
*Ryan Garbutt, Tom Wandell and Philip Larsen were healthy scratches. Ray Whitney (foot) is on injured reserve.
*The Stars assigned D Jordie Benn and G Cristopher Nilstorp to the Texas Stars on Monday.
*Colorado’s Milan Hejduk played in his 1,000th NHL game Monday night, and scored his 371st career goal.