Stars end Wild’s 7-game win streak
DALLAS (AP) — Jamie Benn, Ray Whitney and Cody Eakin each had a goal and an assist to help lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-3 victory to end the Minnesota Wild’s seven-game winning streak on Friday.
Erik Cole and Tomas Vincour also scored for Dallas, which moved within one point of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Jaromir Jagr also earned his 1,000th career NHL assist.
After a 7-4 loss to Minnesota at home on Monday, the Stars had three days off to regroup and rebounded with a strong effort, scoring twice on power plays in the third period.
Kari Lehtonen, who gave up six goals on 41 shots Monday, made 30 saves for the win.
Devin Setoguchi, Jared Spurgeon and Torrey Mitchell scored for Minnesota, which also had its five-game road winning streak end.
Matt Hackett made his season debut for the Wild after getting recalled from AHL Houston on Friday, giving Niklas Backstrom a rest after 12 straight starts. Hackett stopped 28 shots.
The Stars, in the third game of a season-long five-game homestand, squandered a 2-0 first-period lead and entered the third period tied 2-2.
But Cole restored their lead at 1:02 of the third, beating a screened Hackett from the slot with a snap shot for his sixth goal of the season.
Simultaneous penalties to Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter at the 2:00 mark gave Dallas a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes, but they needed just 10 seconds to capitalize.
A pretty passing play from Jagr down low to Whitney, across the crease to Benn for a point-blank one-timer made it 4-2.
The goal was Benn’s seventh, but also was Jagr’s 1,000th NHL assist. He becomes the 12th player — and first European — to reach that milestone.
The Stars made it 5-2 at 12:40 on Eakin’s sixth of the season on another power play. Hackett got a piece of Derek Roy’s backhand from the slot, with the puck trickling into the crease behind him, where Eakin poked it home.
Mitchell closed out the scoring with 59.3 seconds to go, lifting a backhand from in front over Lehtonen’s shoulder for his fourth of the season.
Dallas had a fast start and jumped on top 1-0 just 4:14 into the opening period on a power play.
Benn won a faceoff in the Wild zone, pulling the puck back to the high slot, where Whitney drilled a one-timer that beat Hackett low to the stick side for his sixth goal of the season.
The Stars made it 2-0 at 7:31 on Vincour’s second of the season. Aaron Rome’s wrist shot from the left point was deflected in front by Reilly Smith and was stopped by Hackett.
Vincour pounced on the rebound and popped it home into the open side of the net.
Minnesota pulled within 2-1 at 18:48 on Setoguchi’s 12th goal of the season.
After Matt Cullen carried the puck from the right corner around the net and fed a backhand pass out front, Setoguchi fired a one-timer that beat Lehtonen just under the crossbar, knocking the water bottle off the top of the net.
Dallas nearly restored the two-goal lead just 30 seconds later, but Hackett came up huge with a lunging glove snag while down on the ice on Loui Eriksson’s stuff attempt at the right post.
The Wild tied it on Spurgeon’s fifth goal of the season at 15:56 of the second period, while on a power play. Lehtonen stopped Kyle Brodziak’s snap shot from the right faceoff circle, but the rebound came out to Spurgeon at the left of the crease for an open net.
Notes: Dallas C Vernon Fiddler left the game 3:52 into the first period when he was hooked by Koivu and crashed into the Minnesota post, the play that earned the Stars a first power play. Fiddler did not return from the lower body injury. ... Gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic G Jim Craig was in attendance and received a standing ovation when shown on the video board. ... The Stars honored former C Mike Modano for being part of the club’s 20th anniversary all-time team. Modano, who joined the franchise while it was still the Minnesota North Stars back in 1989, owns virtually every offensive record and helped the Stars win the 1999 Stanley Cup.