In the same city where Canada held its Olympic orientation camp in August, two talented forwards who were passed over made a strong case for being included at the Sochi Games.
Tyler Seguin scored four goals and Jamie Benn had a career-high six points to lead the Dallas Stars over the slumping Calgary Flames 7-3 on Thursday night.
"I actually texted Jamie, probably early August when the camp list came out," Seguin said. "I didn’t know him too well but I texted him about it. Yeah, I think we both wanted to make a statement."
While it makes the odds longer, not being at the camp doesn’t necessarily mean a player won’t get picked for the Olympics. For example, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron was selected for the 2010 team after not being at the camp.
"There’s obviously so many good players in this league that didn’t get picked," Benn said. "There’s obviously some pretty high talent at that camp in the summer. It is what it is. I just came in to camp this year with the focus of being the best player I can be."
Benn had a goal and five assists. Stephane Robidas and Ryan Garbutt also scored for the Stars, who have won five of six and reeled off five straight road victories. Alex Goligoski had three assists.
Dallas scored four consecutive goals in the second period to hand the Flames their fifth loss in a row.
Benn is off to a terrific start with 22 points this season, two back of the NHL lead shared by Sidney Crosby and Alexander Steen.
The top Stars line of Seguin, Benn and rookie Valeri Nichushkin was too quick, too skilled and too elusive for the Flames, who were a step behind all night and could not contain them.
"There was a point where Tyler and I started laughing at each other," said Benn, whose previous high for points in a game was three. "You definitely don’t want to embarrass the other team, but it’s just one of those nights where everything was clicking."
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff thinks the two should be opening some eyes when it comes to the prospects of playing for Team Canada.
"You’d hope that they’re catching some attention. They’ve had a very good start for us and they’ve been leading our team offensively," Ruff said. "Like most teams, you don’t often find one guy up in the standings, it’s usually two guys that work well together. Those two guys have had chemistry ever since camp."
Since the July 4 trade that sent Seguin from Boston to Dallas in a multiplayer deal, the two have quickly become good friends.
"Right from Day 1, we were shooting texts back and forth when we found out about the trade. I was definitely excited to have a player like him join our hockey club," Benn said. "We’re living in the same building back home so we’re spending a lot of time together and that’s translating to chemistry on the ice."
Kari Lehtonen, starting his 11th game in a row and on consecutive nights after shutting out Edmonton 3-0, made 25 saves in improving to 9-3-2.
Matt Stajan had two goals and David Jones also scored for Calgary.
"We just got outworked. It’s the same story," Flames wing Lee Stempniak said. "We had a bad first period. We didn’t play smart, we didn’t play hard. That was a talented team and they took advantage of the odd-man rushes."
Leading 1-0 already, Dallas scored four straight goals to open the second period. Seguin began the outburst at 1:19 by knocking in his own rebound after Benn got the puck to the front of the net.
The same combination struck again at 4:25, and again 4 minutes after that. That goal, which made it 4-0, ended the night for goalie Reto Berra, who was replaced by Karri Ramo.
"We need to get back to our game and get back to our game quick. That’s unacceptable," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "We’re basically giving games away with unnecessary mistakes. Basic, simple mistakes that shouldn’t happen at this level."
Seguin scored 30 seconds into the third period to extend the lead to 6-1. After two Flames goals, Seguin got his team-leading 12th of the season on a power play at 16:21 for the first four-goal game of his career.
When the Flames and Stars met three weeks ago, Dallas was last in the West, four points behind the Flames. Since that night when Dallas won 5-1, Calgary has gone 2-7-1 while the Stars have gone 7-2-2.
"It all falls into the same thing — not being mentally sharp, making wrong decisions, having turnovers, losing your guys, losing battles," Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman said. "The frustration has been building for the last four games now and it kind of accumulated tonight."
NOTES: Calgary has given up the first goal in seven of its last eight games and has been outscored 11-1 in the first period. … Nichushkin, Trevor Daley and Goligoski led the Stars at plus-4. … Wideman played in his 600th NHL game while RW Tim Jackman appeared in his 400th for the Flames. … Flames D Derek Smith was scratched. … Mike Cammalleri’s three-game goal-scoring streak ended for Calgary.