Benn scores twice as Stars put out Flames
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - In a game with significant playoff implications, the Dallas Stars posted a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center on Saturday.
Jamie Benn scored two goals and Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves, including 29 over the final 40 minutes, for the Stars, who secured two precious points in the opener of a home-and-home set.
"I thought we had a strong start and our goalie played great once again," Benn said.
With the win, Dallas moved to the top of the Pacific Division standings. The team is tied with Phoenix in points, but currently holds the division lead thanks to a tiebreaker.
Miikka Kiprusoff stopped only 16 shots for Calgary, which suffered its fifth straight loss. The Flames are three points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Dallas jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Benn collected a return feed from Adam Burish behind the net and scored on a wraparound 97 seconds into the contest. Michael Ryder sent a wrister past Kiprusoff from the right circle to make it 2-0 at the 7:17 mark of the first period.
"We were standing and watching, we weren't moving our feet," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter. "Then we got going and we played a pretty good hockey game after that. We didn't give them much; hardly any shots at all. Their goaltender definitely was the first star."
A returning Mike Cammalleri put the Flames on the board 5:10 later. Back in the lineup after missing nine games with an upper-body injury sustained in a shootout loss against Dallas on March 4, Cammalleri one-timed a cross-ice pass from Anton Babchuk behind Lehtonen, who was tardy in moving to his left.
After a scoreless second period, Calgary came with a push and had a flurry of activity in the Dallas zone at the outset of the third. But the Flames couldn't put another puck past Lehtonen, who turned aside 15 shots in the frame.
Benn extended the lead to 3-1 by hammering home Steve Ott's feed from the left corner with 3:33 remaining. Dallas captain Brenden Morrow added an empty- netter a little over two minutes later.
Morrow played in his 799th NHL game...Lehtonen picked up an assist on Ryder's goal, his second in as many games...The Stars improved to 13-4-0 against Northwest Division opponents this season...Calgary hosts the Stars on Monday...This is the first home-and-home series between these clubs since the 2000-01 season...Former Stars defenseman Karlis Skrastins was honored in a pre-game ceremony. Skrastins passed away when the plane carrying him and the rest of his Russian hockey team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, crashed last September.
03/25 01:15:30 ET