DALLAS — Jamie Benn and Jason Speeza scored 80 seconds apart early in the second period, and the Dallas Stars beat the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Monday night.
It was only the third win in 11 games this month for the Stars, who closed out a 3-6-2 stretch heading into the All-Star break after leading the Western Conference for much of the season.
The Stars have 67 points, three behind conference and Central Division-leading Chicago. But the Blackhawks have played 52 games, two more than Dallas, and have their last game before the break Tuesday night.
Benn's 28th goal of the season came 2:43 in the second, with a little backhanded flip just off the right post. The goal was set up by Valeri Nichushkin's pass, after he had skated behind the net to retrieve his own pass off the boards.
Then Spezza was off the left post behind Karri Ramo after the goalie had skated up for another shot that was wide. The puck ended up on Spezza's stick on the left side of the net with a wide open gap for his 17th goal and a 2-0 lead.
Ramo stopped 28 shots.
Antti Niemi, making his third straight start for Dallas, had 23 saves.
Calgary, 2-5-1 its last eight games, got its only goal early in the third period when Jiri Hudler passed from behind the net to Joe Colborne. It was the seventh goal of the season for Colborne, who has goals in two straight after getting two in his previous 28 games.
The Flames had three power-play chances in the second period without a goal. Their best chance to score in the middle period was right after the start of the first power play, when Niemi stopped two point-blank shots and the Stars survived a flurry of activity in front of the net.
Dallas had allowed goals on five of the 11 previous power plays going into the game. But Calgary was 0 for 5 with the man-advantage, including the final 9.4 seconds of regulation when Ramo was on the bench, giving them six skaters on the ice.
After a 5-1 win over Nashville on New Year's Eve, the Stars had won 28 of their first 39 games. The January rut began two days later with a 3-2 overtime loss at New Jersey.
NOTES: Calgary wrapped up a five-game road trip (1-3-1) and still has one more game before the break. The Flames host Nashville on Wednesday night. ... It was the third and final meeting of the regular season between the Stars and Flames. Calgary won the first two, including a shootout at home Dec. 1. ... Stars D Jordie Benn, who has missed the last three games and five of seven because of a lower body injury, skated on his own in Frisco on Sunday.
Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press