Benn wrists in goal in OT, Stars beat Wild 3-2
DALLAS (AP) — It had been so long since the Dallas Stars won a game in overtime that coach Lindy Ruff conducted a brief lesson on the bench after the third period on Monday night.
The tutorial took hold. Jamie Benn flicked in a goal 1:23 into overtime, lifting Dallas over the Minnesota Wild 3-2.
The Stars had lost five straight overtime games and nine in a row going back to last season. Their last overtime win at home was on Nov. 14, 2015 — also 3-2 against the Wild.
Going into overtime, Ruff was thinking first about defense.
“I even went through a quick review before the overtime started again, just on the defensive side,” he said. “Just to emphasize the points in case we were stuck in our end.”
The reminder worked, as Tyler Seguin won a puck battle in his own end to spring the play the other way. Benn took a cross-ice pass from Seguin in the left faceoff circle and shot over goalie Darcy Kuemper’s right shoulder.
Kuemper said he was distracted by Jordie Benn on the goal.
“The pass came across, it’s on his one-time and there was a guy coming on the back door that just backed me off a little bit. He made a great shot, put it upstairs short side.”
Dallas twice took one-goal leads, but the Wild answered each time.
The Stars’ Jamie Oleksiak scored his first in more than two years on a rebound at 7:19 of the second period. Nino Niederreiter tied the game on the power play at 17:22 of the second.
Brett Ritchie gave Dallas a 2-1 lead at 1:01 of the third, but 3 minutes later, Erik Haula scored for Minnesota.
“We did fight back twice, something we haven’t done a lot of,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s a hard-earned point in here. The points are going to be very valuable to come by because it’s going to be tight.”
Kuemper made 29 saves. Antti Niemi had 27 for the Stars.
In front of Niemi was a revamped defense.
Julius Honka, Dallas’ first-round draft pick in 2014, made his NHL debut and assisted on Ritchie’s goal. Esa Lindell was recalled from Texas of the AHL with Honka, and Oleksiak was playing in only his sixth game this season.
John Klingberg, who had played in every game this season, and Stephen Johns were healthy scratches. Johnny Oduya went on injured reserve before the game with a lower-body injury.
“Our puck movement last game (a 5-2 loss to Edmonton), things we did with the puck,” Ruff said in explaining the changes.
The unit was up against a Minnesota team averaging less than two goals per game. The Wild have scored more than two goals only once in the last nine games, six of them losses.
After a scoreless first period, Dallas applied pressure early in the second.
Patrick Sharp, Patrick Eaves and Jason Spezza skated in ahead of the defense. Trailing the play, defenseman Oleksiak put his stick on the rebound of Spezza’s shot and backhanded the puck into the net.
Oleksiak’s goal was his second in 84 career games. He had not scored in 55 games since his first on Oct. 28, 2014.
NOTES: Wild LW Zach Parise returned after missing Saturday’s game because of strep throat. ... Oleksiak and Minnesota RW Chris Stewart received major penalties for fighting at 6:34 of the first period. ... Ritchie has four points (two goals, two assists) in four career games against the Wild. In 12 games in November, Eaves has 12 points (eight goals, four assists). ... Mikko Koivu’s assist on Niederreiter’s goal was the 400th of his career. He has a team-high 28 points against the Stars in 36 games. ... Haula has five points (two goals, three assists) in his last five games vs. Dallas.
Wild: Return home to play Winnipeg on Wednesday night.
Stars: Travel to Nashville to play on Wednesday night.