Jordie Benn scored the tie-breaking goal with 4:58 to play, and the Dallas Stars rallied from a third-period deficit to assert their Western Conference supremacy with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Benn scored his first goal since Dec. 21 after Patrick Eaves tied it early in the third. Jamie Benn also scored his 41st goal for the Stars, who claimed a late-season meeting of division leaders.
Coach Lindy Ruff won his 700th career game as Dallas (48-22-9) moved four points ahead of St. Louis atop the Central Division and eight points ahead of Los Angeles (46-27-5) in the conference standings.
Jeff Carter scored his fifth goal in four games and Jonathan Quick stopped 36 shots for the Kings, who have lost five of seven.
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Tanner Pearson scored for the Kings, who lost in regulation at home for just the second time in 13 games. Los Angeles has a one-point lead atop the Pacific Division over the Anaheim Ducks, who host Dallas on Sunday.
Jamie Benn scored his fifth goal over four games. Last season’s NHL scoring champion Satrurday trailing Patrick Kane by nine points for the league lead.
Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead into the third period after Carter’s go-ahead goal. But after Eaves tied it early on with his 11th goal, Jordie Benn won it with a long shot past a thoroughly screened Quick. The older, less offensively prolific Benn brother hadn’t scored a goal in his last 28 games.
Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves for Dallas, including a handful of big stops in the final minutes.
If this was a Western Conference Finals preview, the clubs set a tone with their chippy, aggressive afternoon performance. Dallas controlled long stretches of early play and rallied late for its sixth win of the season when trailing after two periods.
Shortly after an apparent early goal by Dallas was waved off for goaltender interference, Pearson put the Kings ahead when his long shot tipped off defenseman Stephen Johns’ stick and fooled Lehtonen.
Jamie Benn evened it on a power play with 2.9 seconds left in the first, scoring his fifth goal over four games. Last season’s NHL scoring champion began the day trailing Patrick Kane by nine points in second place.
The Stars maintained a 2-to-1 shot advantage in the second period, but Carter put the Kings ahead again with his 23rd goal when the puck dribbled off his stick and crossed up Lehtonen.
First Period—1, LA, Pearson 14 (Schenn, Scuderi), 17:37. 2, Dal, Ja.Benn 41 (Sharp, Spezza), 19:57 (pp). Penalties—Clifford, LA (tripping), 12:24; Muzzin, LA (delay of game), 19:31.
Second Period—3, LA, Carter 23 (Toffoli), 9:50. Penalties—Roussel, Dal (roughing), 8:46; Andreoff, LA (roughing), 8:46; Dallas bench, served by Sharp (too many men), 17:14; Doughty, LA (high-sticking), 17:31.
Third Period—4, Dal, Eaves 11, 5:57. 5, Dal, Jo.Benn 2 (Nemeth, Sceviour), 15:02. Penalties—Sharp, Dal (cross-checking), 6:45.
Shots on Goal—Dal 18-12-9—39. LA 8-8-10—26. Power-plays—Dal 1 of 3; LA 0 of 2. Goalies—Dal, Lehtonen 24-10-2 (26 shots-24 saves). LA, Quick 39-22-4 (39-36). A—18,230 (18,230). T—2:52.