Jamie Benn Ties League Lead in Points in Dallas Stars Win Over Anaheim Ducks

The Stars finished their last road game of the season on quite a high note, all things considered.

It's game 81 of 82, the last road game of the Dallas Stars' playoff-less season. It just so happened to be on NBCSN tonight.

Ah, NBCSN. I have a love-hate relationship with you. I love that you show hockey to mainstreamers that don't bother to check their local sports networks for their hockey team playing that night. I hate when you mispronounce, misname, misinform the audience on the nuances of these Dallas Stars.

So what's a girl to do on a Wednesday night 9:30 PM CST start? Open a bottle of wine, of course. Hell, we could all pour one out for the season that should have been.

I decided that my bottle of wine and I would follow some simple rules for this game. I did this so that you don't have to. See what great sacrifices we make to bring you Stars coverage in all its glory?

  • 1 drink for every player name mispronunciation (but since my wine might run out quick on that, only drink the first time it's not said correctly)
  • 1 drink for every team that is mentioned that has zero relevance to this game (so talking about the Ottawa Senators' win over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night? I mean I'll take one drink for that -- the idea of the Pens missing the playoffs is worth at least one drink)
  • 2 drinks every time this game is called "meaningless" or the fact that the Stars aren't making the playoffs this season (ok, this might get a little dicey)
  • 2 drinks every time Mike Modano is referenced (best American born player in the league's history!)
  • 2 drinks for every player's name on the current roster that is not their name (i.e., John Klingman)
  • 3 drinks for every reference to Game 6 last year
  • CHUG! Alex Goligoski just flattened Corey Perry, either during this game or from last year's highlights of Game 6
  • CHUG!! Jamie Benn just took the lead in points scored in the league, ahead of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby (bonus bottle to be opened if Tyler Seguin or Jamie Benn records a hat trick)

You'll notice there are no rules about scoring of goals listed above -- by anyone -- and that's because I'm not that crazy. So how did this go for me tonight?

Oh look, a game six reference right off the start of the broadcast. Delightful. Val Nichushkin sure is skating quickly. That is nice to see. And now we're talking about the Los Angeles Kings losing last night so I can tell this drinking game was a bad idea.

I'll give these broadcasters a lot of credit, they did actually give kudos to Dallas' lethal offensive ability after Jamie Benn and Nichushkin chances early in the first period. They even said that John Klingberg has impressive stats and he probably would have won it in any other season (you know, Johnny Hockey and Filip Forsberg this year...) I like these guys -- they recognize the Dallas talent.

The first period was chippy, much like that playoff series last season, as the commentators pointed out to me. Jason Demers, Jordie Benn and Clayton Stoner all had big hits early.

It may not mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but Shawn Horcoff's open hand shot block on the penalty kill just shows you how much these guys are professionals and committed to plying their trade to the best of their ability. That definitely stung him, but there's a certain amount of pride they play with even when they've been eliminated that makes fans proud to stand behind their team.

Simon Despres took the physical play up a notch when he hit Antoine Roussel in the numbers and Roussel went jaw first into the boards. He looked really shaken after that play, and writhed in pain on the ice for a bit before getting up and leaving on his own volition. Somehow this was related to Ryan Getzlaf's jaw injury from game six last year or something according to the broadcasters. I'm regretting that particular rule now.

The Stars took a power play into the start of the second period, and Nichushkin had one heck of a look from the side of the net. They didn't put the biscuit in the basket, but the ensuing shift created chaos. Vernon Fiddler roofed one over a sprawled Frederik Andersen after a Ryan Garbutt wrap-around chance and a Shawn Horcoff stuff attempt. Gritty work for the first goal.

In a turn of events, Jamie Benn would assist for the first time in their NHL playing careers on a Jordie Benn goal that put the Stars up 2-0 on the Ducks. The even better part is when they went on the power play right after the goal, and then a Duck put it up over the glass to give the Stars a 5-on-3 chance.

Jamie Benn would setup another goal on that 5-on-3 when he slipped a pass into the slot where a waiting Patrick Eaves was. The fun thing about the Stars is they want you to think that Benn is always looking for buddy Seguin and then he does things like that to make you pay. About now I'm glad I didn't put anything on goal scoring in my little game tonight.

As Dallas continued to dominate the Ducks, we were reminded that they have nothing to play for as they aren't going to the playoffs. But that is false -- they've got a potential Art Ross Trophy winner coming in hot in Jamie Benn. These games aren't worthless for him, and I believe everyone on this team wants to get their captain and leader to that kind of recognition for his contributions to this team.

Roussel and Garbutt continued their 'thorn in the side' play against the Ducks from last year's playoff series, with both of them playing the Ducks physically. May be one of Garbutt's better games of the year in that department, as he's been trying to find that balance of 'gritty' and 'dirty' after a few suspensions.

The Stars had somewhere close to 20 shots on goal IN THE SECOND PERIOD against the Ducks. Lindy Ruff decided with 1.6 seconds left he'd pull Jhonas Enroth for the extra attacker since they had an offensive zone faceoff. I see your gutsiness, Ruff. I see you.

Unfortunately for my liver, the Stars decided to stop trying offensively in the third period which gave the broadcasters plenty of time to talk about playoff opposition in the color commentation. More importantly, the Stars got through a game not giving up a three goal lead so that is what we call a "win" folks.

Even more winning continued when Jamie Benn scored his third assist of the night and tied the lead league in scoring on Eaves' second of the night. The Ducks didn't even look like they were really trying in the third, instead they probably just wanted to get out of this without injuries to their players.

The Stars end their road games for the season on a great winning note with a pretty dominant win over a team going to the playoffs. A road win. A Jamie Benn dominant game. A Jhonas Enroth shutout. That's pretty winning, even if only for this one night.