Benn scores 200th goal, Stars beat Predators 5-2
DALLAS (AP) — For the first time this season, Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff started Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on a line centered by Jason Spezza.
They came up big against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
Benn scored his 200th career goal and added two assists, Spezza also had a goal and two assists, and Seguin added a goal and an assist to lead the Stars to a 5-2 win over the Predators.
“It’s been no secret around here that our top players haven’t been our top players,” Benn said. “It’s something we take personally, and we’ve got to be better, and we all know it.′
Benn wasn’t impressed by his milestone goal, focusing on the win instead.
“It felt like any other goal,” he said. “It’s not really a big deal to me. It’s much better to get two points and get a win.”
Spezza’s goal was his first in 13 games, and Benn hadn’t scored in his previous four. Seguin has three goals in the last four games.
The new line could be together for a while.
“I’ll keep anything together that works,” Ruff said. “It’s good to see all those guys get a goal.”
Antoine Roussel had a goal and assist and Brett Ritche also scored for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 33 shots, including all 21 in the second period.
″(Lehtonen) didn’t have a lot of action but what he really did well was he fought through traffic to find some pucks,” Ruff said. “Really well, especially second period.”
Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok scored for Nashville. Pekka Rinne came in with a 2.23 goals-against average, but gave up four goals on 18 shots in 25:47 before leaving early in the second period. Marek Mazanec came on and stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced.
Predators coach Peter Laviolette was brief in his postgame comments, saying: “Well, they showed up to play and we were a no-show. Frustrating. Thank you.”
Dallas extended a 2-1 lead to 5-1 on second-period goals by Spezza, Roussel and Seguin.
Before that, Benn and Ritchie had scored 23 seconds apart midway through the first to put Dallas up 2-0.
Spezza passed from the right boards past Seguin to Benn for a shot from the slot at 9.55. Ritchie scored at 10:18 when his shot went through Rinne and barely crossed the goal line.
Arvidsson’s short-handed goal with 3:57 left in the first came after Dallas’ John Klingberg broke his stick on an attempted slap shot from the blue line. Austin Watson took the puck and passed ahead to Arvidsson. He shot past the stickless Klingberg, and the puck went in off Lehtonen’s glove.
The Stars outshot Nashville 15-6 in the first period. The shots turned around in the second — the Predators had a 21-13 edge — but the Stars scored all three goals in the period.
Spezza skated from the left boards past a defender and Rinne to put the puck into the right corner of the net at 3:27.
Roussel came out of the penalty box for a 2-on-1 break with Lauri Korpikoski, who passed from the goal line back to Roussel in front for a shot into the upper left of the net at 5:47.
Laviolette successfully challenged an apparent goal by Dallas’ Radek Faksa because of goaltender interference. Sixteen seconds later, Seguin took a pass from Benn in the left circle and one-timed the puck past Mazanec.
NOTES: Benn, Spezza and Seguin started on the same line for the first time this season. ... Spezza has seven goals and four assists in his last nine games against the Predators. His goal was his first in his last 13 games overall. ... Nashville’s short-handed goal was the fifth Dallas has allowed this season, tied for second-most in the NHL. ... The Predators’ James Neal had scored a goal in each of his previous three games. ... Dallas has won two of three from Nashville this season. Spezza scored a goal in each of the wins. ... It was the first time in 17 games dating back to Oct. 26 that Rinne was pulled for ineffectiveness.
Predators: At Arizona on Saturday to complete a two-game trip. Nashville lost to the Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout at home on Nov. 3.
Stars: At Philadelphia on Saturday to begin a two-game trip.