Depth scoring is always a great bonus to have during a game, but that's all it should be -- a bonus. The leaders have to step up during vital games and take charge of the team.
Last night Jamie Benn did exactly that. With a Gordie Howe hat trick (which, as Razor one pointed out this season, was only earned twice by Gordie Howe himself), he led the way for the Dallas Stars. He was the primary assist on Jaromir Jagr's power play goal, and he helped to ice the game by putting the Stars up 3-1 with only minutes remaining.
Mark Stepneski has his write up of last night's game, including the heroics of the Stars' best player on the ice last night.
Benn gave the Stars a lift midway through the game, dropping the gloves with Sharks captain Joe Thornton.
"I was trying to get myself going a little bit, and kind of get the barn rocking," said Benn. "I think it wakes you up and gets your adrenaline going I felt good doing it. It was pretty exciting and I was just trying to get the guys going a little bit."
About ten minutes later, Benn set up the first goal of the game. He centered the puck to Jaromir Jagr, who tipped the puck past Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi with 57.3 seconds left in the second.
Benn was not the only one who had a strong game, though. Cristopher Nilstorp had arguably the best game a Dallas Stars backup goaltender has put forth this season in the victory. Allowing only a single goal, he bested the GAA of the backups by at least 2 full goals (I can't remember the exact stat at this point, but I do remember it was atrocious).
Even though Lehtonen is likely to return soon, fans can only hope that this is the turning point for the Stars' backup goaltenders. If there is any hope for them to make or succeed in the playoffs, they are going to need Kari to be healthy and rested, and the only way for that to happen is to have the offense needed from the veterans, as well as being able to rely on those providing a respite for the main netminder.
With that in mind, last night's game was certainly a good sign for the Stars. Fans can only hope that it's the start of a trend that will continue as the season wears on.
- Dallas Stars Coach wishes that Loui would be just a bit more selfish. [Dallas News]
- Daily could be ready to play as early as Monday. Considering how debilitating neck/should injuries can be, that's some pretty good news. [Dallas News]
- The Flames were at least able to beat someone besides the Stars for a change, defeating the Wild lat night. That makes me feel at least a bit better about those two losses. [Globe And Mail]
- Mike Eruzione sold one of his game worn jerseys for well over a $600,000 this week, raising funds for his children, as well as his charity. All it makes me think of is what professional sports players were paid 30 years ago compared to today. [Sports Illustrated]
- Ryan Clowe didn't play last night, pending a hearing after he jumped off the bench to join in a fight. Apparently he faces up to a 10 game suspension. [Puck Daddy]
- Even with a shortened season, there are already a number of coaches and GMs on the hot seat. [Sports Illustrated]
- Evgeni Malkin may be suffering from a concussion. Like him or not, having a public figure like him on ice is good for the NHL. [ESPN]
- For your video of the day -- There was an AHL game yesterday that earned a total of 244 penalty minutes in a single game. I don't know if I've ever head of that many being called in a single game before. You can follow this link for all the details, but the video is below. [Puck Daddy]