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Jamie Benn leads Dallas Stars in 2-1 win over Calgary Flames

12/19/2014 11:53 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 05:59 EST
CALGARY - Jamie Benn provided the Dallas Stars with all the offence they would need on Friday night.

Benn scored his ninth goal of the season and set up the other as the Dallas Stars edged Calgary 2-1 to hand the Flames their seventh-straight loss.

"We wanted to play good team defence and take advantage of their mistakes. I don't think we wanted to go run-and-gun with them," said Benn. "They're kind of a desperate team right now and that's a dangerous team. I thought we did a pretty good job."

After a scoreless first period, the Stars took the lead four minutes into the second. Calgary rookie Markus Granlund won a face-off in the Flames end but Benn lifted Kris Russell's stick just enough that he missed the puck in front of the Calgary net, allowing Benn to reel it in and beat Hiller on a quick backhand.

"I just kind of pick-pocketed him there. It was kind of a lucky break," said Benn, who moves into the top 20 in NHL scoring with 28 points.

Dallas took a 2-0 lead eight minutes later when Trevor Daley took a pass from Benn and burst down the right side, ripping a shot over Hiller's shoulder as the Flames goaltender dropped to the ice. That would be all the support Kari Lehtonen would need in net.

After a busy night in Vancouver the Stars played a much more sound game defensively against the Flames. Calgary has only mustered 11 goals during its losing skid.

"Our guys played very well in front of me," said Lehtonen, who was tested only 22 times in improving to 13-7-5 this season. "It's been a long time coming. It's been such an up-and-down season so far. It's been nice to be able to play a few good games in a row now."

Lehtonen has started the last five games, winning four of them and only surrendering eight goals.

"I didn't like what happened in Vancouver. I thought (Lehtonen) was real good. We gave up probably four or five breakaways and I thought tonight we did a lot better job," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "I thought (Lehtonen) was real sharp when we needed him, especially about five minutes into the first period when they had the one little flurry. Again, he was a difference-maker for us."

Dallas (13-13-5) has won three games in a row to move within seven points of the Los Angeles Kings, who hold the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Stars will attempt to complete a perfect three-game road sweep through Western Canada when the play in Edmonton on Sunday.

Tyler Seguin had an assist to take over the NHL scoring lead with 39 points (23 goals, 16 assists). He is one point up on Evgeni Malkin and Jakub Voracek.

Mark Giordano scored the lone goal for Calgary (17-15-2), which has gone seven games in a row without picking up a point for the first time since an eight-game losing streak in 1998-99.

Jonas Hiller stopped 19 shots in the loss.

"We've gotta look in the mirror and say, 'Hey, we gotta maybe change it up a bit offensively,' and try and grind some goals in," said Giordano. "We're generating some chances, but it's not good enough. I mean, one goal's not good enough."

The Flames started off the 2014-15 season by going an impressive 17-8-2. But they haven't picked up a point since beating Colorado on Dec. 4 and have tumbled out of a playoff spot, sitting two points back of the Kings, who hold a game in hand.

"We had such a great start to the year, we don't want to just waste it in just this one stretch here. We trust our leadership, we trust our systems right now and it's just a matter of going out and doing it," said Calgary centre Joe Colborne.

The Flames' final two games before Christmas are on the road. They play in Vancouver on Saturday night before taking on the reigning Stanley Cup champions in Los Angeles on Monday.

"We're not as confident with the puck as we were maybe three weeks ago," said Calgary coach Bob Hartley. "We played a good game and we've played lots of pretty decent games. But at this level, it's the result. It's the points you put in the standings and right now we're falling quite rapidly."

After intercepting Daley's clearing attempt at the blue-line, Giordano wristed a knuckler towards the net and eluded Lehtonen with 1:15 left in the second period to close the gap.

Despite only being down one goal, Calgary failed to generate any sustained pressure in the third period.

The Flames' best chance came with 28 seconds left when they got a power play and had an opportunity to tie the game with Hiller pulled, but they were unable to take advantage.

Notes: Matt Stajan was a healthy scratch for Calgary for the second time in five games. ... Among those not dressed for Dallas was Jordie Benn (illness)... With 23 goals in the Stars first 30 games, Seguin had the third highest goal total through that point in team history. Dino Ciccarelli had 29 in 1986-87 and had 26 in 1981-82. ... The last time the Flames lost seven games in a row in regulation time was December 2-17, 1974, when the franchise was in Atlanta. That eight-game losing streak in 1998-99 included an overtime loss although at the time, overtime losses weren't worth a point, which is why it stands as the most recent occurrence of losing seven games in a row.

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