Benn scores hat trick, Stars WIN

Photos by Dominic Ceraldi

Jamie Benn had a hat trick for the Dallas Stars in a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at American Airlines Center on Tuesday.

“When he gets going like that, he’s a force and he’s tough to haul down,” Stars head coach Rick Bowness said about Benn. “You saw it in the [empty-net goal], and good for him because he’s worked very hard.”

Denis Gurianov scored, Miro Heiskanen had two assists, and Anton Khudobin made 24 saves for the Stars (32-19-5), who went 2-for-4 on the power play and are 4-1-1 in their past six games.

“That was one of our better games for 60 minutes, for sure,” Bowness said. “That’s how we want to come out of the gate. It’s our home ice and we have to take advantage of it.”

Sebastian Aho scored, and Petr Mrazek made 33 saves for the Hurricanes (32-21-3), who had won two straight.

“We weren’t very good [in the] first period,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We got better at the end. Obviously, we didn’t kill the penalties. That’s the game, really. 

“We weren’t good enough to win. We had a few guys that didn’t come to play tonight. That’s the problem.”

Benn scored on a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Stephen Johns to give Dallas a 1-0 lead at 7:54 of the first period.

“I think you take it period by period,” Benn said. “We talked about having a good start as a group and we played well in the first period.”

The Hurricanes have allowed the first goal in each of their past six games and are 3-3-0 in that span.

“That’s been the story of this whole (four-game road) trip,” Hurricanes defenseman Joel Edmundson said. “Our starts just haven’t been good enough. Like you said, it was 1-1, but we still had to dig ourselves out of that hole and find a game that works for us.”

Aho scored for the sixth straight game to tie it 1-1 when he gathered a pass from Andrei Svechnikov in his skate and scored between Khudobin’s left pad and the post at 17:38.

Gurianov scored a power-play goal with a one-timer from the right circle at 12:36 of the second period to give Dallas a 2-1 lead, and Benn scored on the power play in the high slot at 15:06 to make it 3-1.

“I always try to practice that shot,” Gurianov said about his goal. “[Heiskanen] did a good job of passing me the puck and I just shot it trying to hit the net. I’ve been working on that shot for a long time.”

It was the Stars fifth straight game with a power-play goal (7-for-21 in that span).

“The power play has been really good,” Bowness said. “Even that one in the third period where we didn’t score we had some great looks. It’s a little frustrating they had a little bit of a tough time getting going early, but when they get going, the power play has been very good.”

Benn completed the hat trick to extend the lead to 4-1 at 18:41 when he was awarded an empty-net goal after being tripped by Svechnikov.

“The boys were giving it to me to smile,” Benn said about his sixth NHL hat trick. “I try not to in those scenarios. It felt good.”

They said it

“They have high-end skill up front and back in the defense. A lot of speed and they actually are really good at getting quick up and forechecking hard, so they were really good. [They’re] a tough team to play against.” — Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho 

“All it took was one shot and that was a rocket. No one is stopping that because it’s a perfect shot and it’s a rocket. There’s nothing you can do. As a penalty killer, you’re willing to give up that outside shot. You have to give up something, so you give up that shot. But if it’s a perfect shot, it’s a perfect shot.” — Stars coach Rick Bowness on Denis Gurianov’s power-play goal

Need to know

Svechnikov has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a five-game point streak. … Aho has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in a seven-game point streak. … Gurianov’s goal was his 16th on the season and seventh on the power play. … Stars forward Joe Pavelski (upper body) was a game-time decision but did not play. … Dallas is 10-2-0 in its past 12 home games against Carolina.

Courtesy; Josh Clark NHL.com