The Dallas Stars got a big performance from Jamie Benn on Monday night, as the young forward scored three points (2G, 1A), including the game winner, to help the Stars take a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
“Our big guy came to play,” said Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan. “He’s getting into form. The way he shoots the puck and releases the puck, it’s fun to watch behind the bench. As a coach, it gives you sense of calmness when he’s out there, that at any point he can break something open. I think that’s what every coach in this league likes about their best player.”
“I felt pretty good tonight,” Benn said. ”Probably one of my better nights. But I just want to keep building from here, be as consistent as possible and kind of ride this into the next game.”
The 3-2 win by the Stars on Monday marked the eighth game of the season (of a total ten) that has come down to a margin of a single goal.
“I think eight or nine of the games we’ve had are one-goal games, and they’re good to be in,” Benn remarked. ”We want to learn to play with the lead and learn to keep that lead, and I thought our team did a good job tonight.”
In addition to the multi-point night by Benn, the Stars got strong play across the lines, which helped key the team to a win in Denver. Rookie defenseman Brenden Dillon was a plus-2 on the night, while playing veteran minutes, and Derek Roy chipped in an assist in his first night back after a stint on the Injured Reserve. Roy also logged 21 minutes of ice time, many of which were in the pivotal moments toward the end of the game.
“You get into those last minutes and you trust a veteran guy like Derek,” said Gulutzan. ”You just want to protect yourself against whatever may come – a faceoff in your end and getting kicked out. We have reliable guys and we had a backup group coming in that was going to be reliable in Fids, Nystrom and Morrow. Guys that have been in that spot before. At the end of the day, with Derek, he’s got to play in those situations.”
In addition to the pair of goals by Benn, Stars captain Brenden Morrow scored a key goal in the first period, exending the Stars lead at the time to 2-0. It was Morrow’s first goal of the season, and one that Gulutzan felt was well-earned.
“He put in a tremendous amount of work and he ‘s a very focused individual right now,” Gulutzan said about Morrow. ”With the injury to Derek (Roy), we wanted some balance and we needed Brenden to step up, and he has. That’s why he’s the leader of this group.”
Dallas jumped out to 2-0 lead in the 1st period thanks to goals by Benn and Morrow, but Colorado came back to tie the score with a tally at the end of the 1st period and another in the 2nd period. Benn scored the game-winner on the power play in the waning moments of the middle frame, and Dallas held tightly to that advantage.
The Stars win spoiled the night for many Avalanche fans, keen on seeing a win for Avs’ long-time forward Milan Hejduk’s 1,000th game. Hejduk becomes the first Colorado player to earn the honor. Joe Sakic played in 1,378 games for Colorado, but 508 of those games were with the Quebec Nordiques, and 870 were after the team moved to Denver in 1995.
“He came when he was a little bit later to NHL – he came when he was 22 or 23 – plus he had bad knees, bad injuries,” said Jaromir Jagr, a fellow Czech Republic citizen. ”It’s tough to get a thousand games without injuries, just to stay so long in the league. To be able to play so long, the key is you have to be able to adjust and that’s what he’s done.”
The Stars next game will take them to Edmonton to face the Oilers on Wednesday at 9:00 PM CT.
BDH THREE STARS:
1. Jamie Benn – A pair of goals and an assist. Big game from a guy the Stars need to be their top guy.
2. Brenden Morrow – Looked solid in his shifts, scored his first goal of the season, and showed why he’s the captain throughout.
3. Derek Roy – Logged the fourth-highest total of minutes on the team and had the primary assist on the game-winning goal
- With the win, Dallas is now just two wins shy of equaling the win total they had as the Minnesota North Stars (As Dallas, they have 756 wins. As Minnesota, they had 758)
- Jaromir Jagr has earned a point in seven consecutive contests against Colorado dating back to 2002.
- With his goal on Monday night, Brenden Morrow is now just five goals away from tying Jere Lehtinen for the 7th spot on the all-time franchise goal scoring list.
- The three-point, two-goal game was Jamie Benn’s ninth career multi-goal game, and the Stars are now 8-1-0 when he scores at least two goals in a game.
- Benn’s three-point night is the eighth of his career and his second against Colorado. He has never had over three points in a game.