To be fair, the elder Benn brother has had success in the shootouts in the past, scoring at least one game-winner during his time with the AHL's Texas Stars. And the defenseman was known as a bit of an offensive force as he worked his way up the ranks.
But this... this was much more fun.
Benn's penalty shot goal in the third period of yesterday's 4-0 win over the Minnesota Wild made some NHL history. It was the Stars fourth penalty shot goal of the season on their seventh attempt, both of which tied the NHL single-season records.
The seven penalty shots drawn ties four other teams in NHL history - the 05/06 Carolina Hurricanes, the 05/06 Nashville Predators, the 08/09 Tampa Bay Lightning and the 10/11 Lightning. Erik Cole, now with the Stars, figured prominently on that Hurricanes team, drawing five of the seven penalty shots that year and scoring on two.
And it happened in about the most unlikely circumstance possible.
Benn had just stepped out of the penalty box after serving a roughing minor midway through the third period when the puck was cleared out of the Stars zone, and he found himself all alone behind the Wild defense. The puck was rolling on edge, forcing Benn to chase it wide down the right side of the zone.
Instead of waiting for Benn, who has been more of a stay-at-home guy at the NHL level, to come to him, Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper made the highly questionable decision to try and race him to the puck. Benn won the race and Kuemper, compounding his first bad decision with a worse one, threw his stick at Benn as he cut to the net.
Here the whole mess is in GIF form below:
To paraphrase the great Bob Cole, everything was happening.
Throwing the stick at the puck in the defensive zone is an automatic penalty shot (Rule 53 - Throwing Equipment, way down at the end). On one hand, you get what Kuemper is thinking. The net is open, and he probably has no idea where the defender was racing back. Better to give up a penalty shot than a slam-dunk empty-net goal. Still, the effect is pretty comical.
But wait; it gets better (at least if you're a Stars fan).
Jordie Benn has never taken a penalty shot in his NHL career and was unsuccessful on his lone shootout attempt earlier this season, but he handled his attempt like a seasoned veteran, going with the little kick move and head fake to freeze the beleaguered Kuemper and slide the puck past his fallen form.
A for effort, and A for execution.
Benn is the fifth to take a penalty shot for the Stars this season and the fourth to score, joining Antoine Roussel, Vernon Fiddler and Valeri Nichushkin in the latter category and Alex Chiasson along with that trio in the former. I'm not sure this is quite as glorious as, say, Roussel's penalty shot conversion against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago, complete with crowd taunt, but it is awesome in its own special way.
It even led to the always appreciated Benn brothers comedy routine. According to Jamie...
"I’ve pretty much taught him everything he knows. I guess I’ll give him a little bit of credit, but he made a pretty good move there. He has some pretty soft hands and a little bit of patience, and I’ve seen it before, but it’s the first time our fans (have) seen that."
But according to Jordie...
"He came across the bench, and gave me a tap and said ‘you’re welcome,’ but no, he didn’t teach me that one. He has definitely taught me a lot, but not that one."
Even Lindy Ruff got in on the act, turning the tables on Jamie a bit.
"We’ve watched him in practice and he’s a guy that can sell a pretty good move. He’s been in consideration for us to start using him [in shootouts] a little bit more," said Ruff. "I think that’s the move that Jordie needs to teach Jamie. I’ m being serious. We see it in practice, he does have a couple excellent moves for a defensemen."
Brothers. Can't live with 'em; can't drown 'em in a ditch.
Relive the whole sequence in the video below: