Jamie Benn scored a natural hat trick in the first 14 minutes of play to lead the Dallas Stars to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. It was the fastest hat trick in Stars history from the start of the first period, which beat out Patrick Eaves’s record by about five minutes. In addition, it also broke the team’s record for shortest amount of time between the first and third goals scored, a record previously made this year by Radek Faksa.
However, the win was bittersweet; the Stars finish the season with 92 points, three points out of the eighth playoff spot taken by the Colorado Avalanche. On the bright side, the Stars played spoiler to the Kings, and prevented them from reaching 100 points and kept them as the first Wild Card instead of third in the Pacific Division.
This season might not have gone as we all hoped starting back in October, but it was at least nice to see the Stars finish with a win. On behalf of everyone at Defending Big D, thank you all for sticking with us until the end. Get ready for some amazing offseason content!
The game started a little slow, with no shots on net in the first two minutes or so, but the floodgate broke loose starting at about the 13-minute mark. Devin Shore stole the puck from Kings defenseman Christian Folin and got a 1-on-1 opportunity against Jonathan Quick. Shore took the veteran goaltender to the cleaners with a backhanded shot up high.
Classic steal and score from Devin Shore. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/vcSI507F1A— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 8, 2018
Almost exactly two minutes later, the puck took a weird bounce off of the glass behind the Kings’ zone and back towards the net. Benn was able to bat it in baseball-style for his first goal of the evening. 2-0 for the Stars.
Jamie Benn at his finest for his first goal of the night. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/0ZMCwG6VAY— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 8, 2018
The Stars had to wait almost three minutes to get their next one, where some chaos in front of the net led the puck to slide over towards the captain, who proceeded to net his second goal of the night and the period.
Quick coughs one up and Benn cleans it up for his second goal. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/ie8o9Vp6Ve— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 8, 2018
Just a couple minutes later, Benn tipped in a shot from Alexander Radulov toward the net to earn his second hat trick in just three games.
And 14 minutes into the game, Benn has a natty hatty. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/4jdRQEkDf1— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 8, 2018
There was a bit of chaos in the Stars’ own zone in the final minutes of the period, but nothing came of it, which gave the Stars a four-goal cushion at the end of twenty minutes.
Score: Dallas 4, Los Angeles 0
Shots: Dallas 10, Los Angeles 8
Unfortunately for the Stars, the teams looked completely different in the second period. The middle frame began with a Kings team that refused to leave the offensive zone, and generated several opportunities that cultivated into a goal by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez less than four minutes in.
Brett Ritchie soon had a shot that bounced off the post, but the Stars’ first official shot on net didn’t come until about halfway into the period. During that time, the Stars took two minor penalties: a slashing by Marc Methot and a tripping by Gemel Smith. The Stars technically killed both penalties, but just one second after Smith’s time in the penalty box was finished, Martinez scored off the point to notch his second goal of the night.
The Kings would continue to dominate the offensive zone for the remainder of the period, and outshot the Stars 18-2. Thankfully, Kari Lehtonen stood tall and didn’t let another puck past him. The Stars entered the second intermission with their lead cut in half.
Score: Dallas 4, Los Angeles 2
Shots: Dallas 12, Los Angeles 26
The final period started more or less how the previous one left off - the Kings continued to outshoot the Stars as they tried to close the gap. The Stars had a couple of decent chances about halfway through, such as a Tyler Pitlick’s shot that generated a handful of decent rebound opportunities, but otherwise the Stars were mostly on the defensive.
A delay of game penalty by Drew Doughty put the Stars on the power play, but the team wasn’t able to capitalize on the opportunity. Mattias Janmark went to the box for tripping with about three minutes left, but the Stars successfully killed the penalty. The Kings tried to increase their scoreline by pulling Quick for one last effort, but the period ended without a goal, which gave the Stars the win.
Final Score: Dallas 4, Los Angeles 2
Final Shots: Dallas 18, Los Angeles 36