Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he needed more from his leaders after a string of demoralizing losses.
Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn stepped up to the challenge
Seguin scored on the power play in the third period and the Stars beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Thursday night to snap a three-game slide.
“The guys did a great job responding,” Seguin said. “Our compete level was a lot higher, just our will. … We were missing it the last few games.”
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Ales Hemsky, Esa Lindell and Radek Faksa had the other goals for Dallas, which got 26 saves from Kari Lehtonen. John Klingberg and Jason Spezza each added two assists.
Sven Baertschi and Ben Hutton scored for Vancouver. Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots in his 12th start in the last 13 games.
Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin, 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, tossed Benn to the ice with under four minutes to go in a previously sleepy second period, with the Stars captain going back at the hulking Russian and dropping the gloves in what was a spirited fight. Both players went to their respective locker-rooms after the dust-up, but Benn didn’t come back for the third because of what the Stars called an upper-body injury.
It wasn’t clear if the injury to Benn, who will be re-evaluated Friday, happened during the fight or earlier in the game.
“I like it,” Ruff said of seeing his captain and second-leading scorer drop the gloves. “It sends a message to the team that the fight is still on. You’ve got to win games and play hard.
Hutton then tied the score on the power play to snap a 1-for-33 stretch on the man advantage.
Both teams are well back in the Western Conference playoff race, and the Stars were outscored 17-4 during their recent skid, including a 7-1 demolition at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
“It’s no secret we were embarrassed by the last two games and the season in general,” Spezza said.
The Canucks, meanwhile, finished winless on their five-game homestand (0-3-2), with the last three losses coming in regulation.
Seguin snapped a 2-2 tie at 9:07 of the third, blasting a one-timer past Miller for his 24th of the season after the Stars zipped the puck around the Canucks’ zone.
Faksa then took advantage of a turnover by defenseman Troy Stecher at the side of his own net to bury his 11th past a helpless Miller at 15:31 as the Stars improved to 12-0-1 in their last 13 games against Vancouver.
Dallas grabbed a 1-0 lead at 8:41 of the first period after its 30th-ranked penalty kill held Vancouver’s 28th-ranked power play off the scoreboard during an early four-minute man advantage.
Hemsky, who has missed 59 games this season with hip and groin injuries, swooped past Hutton and beat an indecisive Miller to a loose puck before scoring his first goal since March 24, 2016.
“It’s frustrating,” Hutton said. “We want to win, especially here in our home rink in front of our fans. One mistake here, one mistake there and it’s two points for the other team and not us.”
Vancouver responded when Reid Boucher, playing in his 100th NHL game, fed a slick pass to Tryamkin. The big defenseman had both his initial shot and rebound stopped by Lehtonen before the puck popped into the slot to Baertschi, who buried his 17th at 13:27.
The Stars nudged back in front with 7.2 seconds left in the period when Lindell scored his sixth on a wrist shot from well out that went in off Miller’s blocker.
▪ The Stars are 6-0-1 in their last seven games at Rogers Arena dating to the 2012-13 season.
▪ Vancouver D Christopher Tanev missed a third straight game because of food poisoning.
▪ Dallas F Jiri Hudler was a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game.
Stars: Wrap a four-game trip at Calgary on Friday night.
Canucks: Open a five-game trip Saturday night in Edmonton.