Benn’s 5th goal in 6 games helps Stars beat Oilers 4-1
DALLAS (AP) — Jamie Benn kept up his scoring binge and helped the Dallas Stars get another win.
Benn scored his fifth goal in six games, and the Stars beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 on Monday night.
“Jamie Benn has been phenomenal all year,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. “It’s getting close to 10 games now that he’s winning so many battles. When your best players are your hardest workers you start to see the team build.”
Jason Dickinson, Brett Ritchie and Esa Lindell also scored in the Stars’ third straight win. Mattias Janmark had two assists and Anton Khudobin stopped 28 shots.
Jujhar Khaira spoiled Khudobin’s shutout bid with 5:24 left in the third and Mikko Koskinen finished with 21 saves as the Oilers snapped a three-game win streak. Edmonton’s streak started with a 1-0 overtime win at home over Dallas last Tuesday.
Ritchie returned to the lineup after missing five games as a healthy scratch. He assisted on Dickinson’s first-period goal and then scored his first of the season at 1:51 of the third period for a 2-0 lead.
“We talked to (Ritchie) about his puck possession needs to be better,” Montgomery said, “and the first goal of the game he wins a forecheck, moves it, protects it, which ended up being the goal.”
Ritchie said he learned during his hiatus from the ice.
“There’s a lot you can learn, a lot you can work on to make sure you’re ready,” he said. “It was just a matter of me getting my legs under me early and just getting back in the flow.”
Edmonton coach Ken Hitchcock said Ritchie’s goal was a difference maker.
“When they got their second goal, that took some wind out of our sails. We played a hell of a hockey game for almost 40 minutes. And no reward for it. You’re not going to win scoring one goal on the road.”
Benn scored his team-leading 12th goal on the power play at 7:24 of the third, tipping a pass from Gavin Bayreuther past Koskinen to push the lead to 3-0. The Stars were 1 for 2 on the power play after going 2 for 29 with a man advantage over the previous 10 games.
Montgomery said the Dallas power play helped even while coming up empty on a second-period advantage.
“I thought we were kind of flat until we got that power play. The power play gave us a lot of momentum.”
Lindell capped the scoring with an unassisted, short-handed, empty-net goal with 2:14 left by sending the puck the length of the ice with the Oilers skating 6-on-4.
The Stars’ first goal came at 10:59 of the opening period. Ritchie dug the puck out of the left corner to Janmark in the left faceoff circle. Janmark passed across to Dickinson at the right of the net for an easy snap shot into the open right side of the net for his fifth.
Each team had a good scoring chance in the second period, but neither scored. Khudobin stopped a wrist shot by Jesse Puljujarvi, who then took the rebound and hit the crossbar. On a 2-on-1 during the period’s only power play, Dallas’ Tyler Seguin kept the puck but hit the crossbar behind Koskinen.
At 1:51 of the third period, Janmark passed from the slot across to Ritchie to the left of the net. Ritchie scored his first goal of the season by fitting the puck between Koskinen and the left goalpost.
NOTES: Edmonton C Connor McDavid and C Ryan Spooner missed the game because of illness. Stars coach Jim Montgomery said McDavid’s absence helped Dallas. “We never had to be aware of him on the ice.” ... Hitchcock returned to Dallas for the first time since coaching the Stars last season. The Edmonton native took over the Oilers on Nov. 20. ... The Stars are 8-0-1 vs. Pacific Division this season, including 1-0-1 vs. the Oilers. ... The teams’ final meeting will be on March 28 at Edmonton.
Oilers: At St. Louis on Wednesday night in the second game of a two-game trip.
Stars: Host San Jose on Friday night to complete a two-game homestand.