The only way to make the Dallas Stars' running count of second night of back-to-back difficulties (heading into this one 4-20-2 in the last three years) is to go out and win some games.
Against the Calgary Flames Thursday night they did that and then some.
Dallas turned a 1-0 advantage after one period into a 5-0 lead 32 minutes into the game, then navigated their way through an awkward second half as the outcome seemed certain, adding two more but surrendering three to Calgary in the process en route to a 7-3 win despite having played in Edmonton last night.
The win pushes Dallas to 7-2-2 in their last 11 games. The Stars hadn't reached six goals since February 1st, 2012 and hadn't reached seven since November 4th, 2011.
Jamie Benn recorded his first ever four-point game, which became his first ever five-point game as things went along. It was the first five-point game for a Stars player since October 23rd, 2008, and the first in the National Hockey League this season.
The Stars' captain was dynamic throughout the first 30 (and ultimately deciding) minutes, back-checking ferociously and transitioning with an authoritative grace. He was physically imposing, yet cerebral. His celebrations were muted. He looked like a man on a mission.
As a result he helped Tyler Seguin to his second career hat trick, and the first for the Stars' franchise since Steve Ott notched on against the San Jose Sharks back in 2010, ending a curious drought in that area. Seguin would add a fourth on a garbage-time power play in the third period just for good measure.
It was all about that first line in the minutes that actually decided this one. The Fiddler trio was a mixed bag and Eakins' group had their chances, but all others failed in comparison to Benn and Seguin in transition- And in transition was where most of this damage was done.
The Stars were crisp on their breakouts tonight, more-so than they've been at any one point this year. Even the fourth line got in on the action as Ryan Garbutt scored in transition to make it 5-0 in the second. The special teams play last night in Edmonton dictated uneven minute distribution, and the exact opposite tonight let Ruff roll all four without care heading into an off day in Vancouver tomorrow.
It was a cathartic night on offense, to be sure, and a season-skewing night where Benn and Seguin's point totals will be concerned. Valeri Nichushkin got in on the action with two assists and a +4 rating, and Alex Goligoski did as well with three helpers and a +4 mark on the night.
Benn's 6 pt. night is just the third of its kind since the Stars moved to Texas. Gagner ('94) and Modano ('95) also had 6 pt. nights.— Stars Communications (@StarsPR) November 15, 2013
It was a sweet karmic adjustment for Dallas who had lost 7-4 in Calgary in two of their last three trips there.
The offensive rarities have no end tonight, it seems...
Seguin's four-goal night is just the sixth since the Stars moved to Texas. Joins Jokinen, Hull, Nieuwendyk, Modano and Gagner.— Stars Communications (@StarsPR) November 15, 2013
When presented with a couple of dogs like this, if Dallas is the team they want to believe that they are, then they had to kick them while they were down- Mission accomplished.
Vancouver will be another matter entirely on Sunday, capable of matching up with purpose and over-powering certain units. These last two wins were fun but forward depth and scoring balance could once again be in question as quality of competition comes back up to the West's par.
Kari Lehtonen, at any rate, had a couple of nice nights here and improves his road record to 7-1 on the year. The Stars now co-lead the Western Conference in road wins with seven.
It's bed time, friends. More thoughts on this one tomorrow.
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