Benn leads 4-goal 2nd period as Stars beat Wild 6-1
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DALLAS -- Jamie Benn had good company on the Dallas Stars' top line on Saturday night.
Benn and Tyler Seguin each had a goal and an assist during a four-goal second period and Seguin added another assist in the third, and Alexander Radulov provided a goal and an assist as Dallas beat the Minnesota Wild 6-1.
"The line was good, and Radulov was exceptional," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "His hunt on the puck and his hound on the puck and the strength on the puck. He was a reckless player today in a good way."
Seguin has 25 goals, and Benn and Radulov 21 each.
"I can't say that our line was the best line tonight," Seguin said. "I thought it was as close to a whole team effort as you're going to get.
Dallas increased its lead for the Western Conference's first wild card to three points. Minnesota missed a chance to move a point ahead of the Stars.
"We could have leapt over them," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's depressing, but you can't let it get you down."
After a scoreless first period, Mattias Janmark and Benn scored on the power play, Seguin scored on an assist from Benn, and Stephen Johns added an unassisted goal. Radulov and Dan Hamhuis scored in the third period for the Stars, and Kari Lehtonen stopped 30 shots to win his fourth straight.
"He's been a starter for most of his life," Hitchcock said of Lehtonen, now a backup to Ben Bishop. "He thinks like a starter, acts like a starter."
Jason Zucker spoiled Lehtonen's shutout bid at 5:40 of the third period. Alex Stalock stopped 25 of the 29 shots he faced through the first two periods, and Devan Dubnyk gave up two goals on nine shots in the third.
In an evenly played first period, neither team had a goal or a penalty as the Wild outshot the Stars 10-9.
That all changed midway through the second period, when Minnesota drew the first two penalties and Dallas scored on both power plays sandwiched around the goal by Johns in a span of 4:08.
Zucker went off for high sticking Lehtonen at 7:41 and Janmark deflected John Klingberg's shot from the blue line past Stalock at 8:59.
"I've got to be careful going to the net high like that," Zucker said. "We've got to respond better after a goal, and not let them get another goal so quick."
Johns stole the puck from Nino Niederreiter in the neutral zone, skated in to the right faceoff circle and sent the puck just inside the right goalpost just 48 seconds later.
"You could see that once they got the second goal, everybody was like this with their shoulders slumping," Boudreau said.
Dallas swarmed Minnesota's net on the second power play. Devin Shore's backhand from just to the left of the goal rebounded to Benn on the right for an easy goal at 11:49.
Seguin increased the Stars' sudden lead to 4-0, taking a pass from Benn low in the left circle.
NOTES: Bishop was scratched after being hit in the face by a puck while sitting on the bench during Thursday's game at Arizona. Rookie Landon Bow was recalled from Texas of the AHL to back up Lehtonen. ... Commemorating 25 years in Dallas since moving from Minnesota, the Stars had four players from the 1993-94 team - Paul Cavallini, Russ Courtnall, Dave Gagner and Craig Ludwig - drop ceremonial first pucks. ... Stars LW Antoine Roussel returned after missing two games because of a nasal infection. ... Minnesota was playing back-to-back nights after a 5-2 home win over Vegas on Friday. ... The Wild came in with a seven-game streak of scoring on the power play, during which they had eight goals. At the other end, they have allowed seven goals in their last 10 penalty-killing attempts over the last four games.
Wild: At St. Louis on Tuesday night.
Stars: Host the New York Rangers on Monday night.