COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Through the first two games of the season, the Dallas Stars had trouble scoring.
Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn closed that gap in a hurry.
Seguin scored three goals, including the tiebreaker with 7:44 left in the third, and Benn added a goal and three assists to lift the Stars to a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night for their first win.
“That was an awesome display,” said Lindy Ruff, who collected his first win as Stars coach after an 0-1-1 start. “I thought both guys played well. Seggy had a heck of a game and Benny the same thing.”
Seguin redirected Benn’s shot to give the Stars the lead then added an empty-netter. Seguin also opened the scoring in the first.
Asked about Benn’s goal, which made it 2-0, Seguin cracked, “I was wide open, actually.”
The Stars matched their goal total in their first two games. Kari Lehtonen had 33 saves, including several highlight stops in the closing minutes.
Dallas wasn’t exactly desperate for a win, but the victory sure was welcome.
“It would have (stunk),” Benn said of the potential for a winless three-game start. “But our goalie played good and we found a way to win, to get the two points.”
More than just the victory was how the Stars won it: On the road, against a team that had started 2-0-0 after a breakthrough season a year ago.
“It was a big thing, for sure,” Seguin said. “Our first win, especially on the road.”
Both teams traded scoring chances until Benn gathered the puck near the middle of the blue line and fired a low, hard shot that Seguin got a stick on.
Seguin then had empty-net goal with a second left.
It was quite a breakthrough night for Seguin, who had three hat tricks a year ago but was scoreless coming in.
The 1-2 punch was nothing new, of course. Benn is coming off a season in which he had 34 goals and 45 assists and had a plus-21 rating. Seguin, who always seems to be in the right place with the puck, had 37 goals and 84 points a year ago.
“It’s stuff we built and we’re going to keep on building,” Seguin said of the pair’s rapport on the ice. “(Benn) kind of asked me after the last game (a 4-1 loss at Nashville on Saturday) if we were panicking. We definitely weren’t but we thought we needed to do better. We had a better compete level from the drop of the puck (tonight).”
Benn, without a point and, like Seguin, a minus-3 plus/minus in the first two games, passed from the right wing to Seguin’s tape at the left doorstep, where he was able to jam the puck in past a defenseman while beating Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky just 3:36 in.
Benn then ended up with a loose puck and no one near him in the high slot. He skated in and lifted a wrister inside the far post and past Bobrovsky for a 2-0 lead.
“That wasn’t the start we wanted,” said Ryan Johansen, who had both goals for the Blue Jackets. They were trying to get to 3-0 for the first time in the franchise’s 14 seasons.
Jack Johnson added two assists and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots for Columbus.
“They were hungry. They came out and put us on our heels,” said Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards, who attributed the loss to the poor first period. “Then it came down to battles and with their speed they won most of them.”
NOTES: Dallas was without RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip pointer), who was replaced on the top line by Colton Sceviour. … The Stars are now 14-4-3 in their last 21 trips to Nationwide Arena. … Columbus placed C Brian Gibbons earlier Tuesday. … Linesman Brad Kovachik took a puck to his left leg and had to be helped off the ice early in the second period.
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