Seguin, Benn lead Stars in 2-1 win over Flyers
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars are happy to have gotten off to a quick start this season.
Seguin and Jamie Benn each had a goal and an assist to lead Dallas to its fourth straight victory, 2-1 over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Dallas lost 18 of its first 28 games last season and failed to make the playoffs.
”It’s been our message the last six months,” Seguin said. ”Our start is huge. We’re playing good hockey and finding ways to win.”
Benn added: ”This is a confident group. We know when we play the right way, we’re going to be successful.”
Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers, who were playing for the first time since beating Chicago last Wednesday.
”It took us some time to find our energy,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. ”We had our moments, our spurts, but they had sustained pushes before we got going in the third. The schedule is what it is. We just couldn’t find our legs early on.”
Antti Niemi made 34 saves to improve to 3-1 in four career starts against Philadelphia. Niemi was in because starting goalie Kari Lehtonen is 1-10-2 in 13 games against Philadelphia.
”He played great,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. ”He made a couple of second-opportunity saves that kept us where we were at, and that’s what you need from a goaltender.”
Steve Mason made 30 saves for the Flyers in his return for the Flyers after sitting out the last two games due to personal reasons. He last played on Oct. 10 when he gave up four goals in 6 minutes, 47 seconds of the first period in a 7-1 loss at Florida. Michal Neuvirth had two shutouts during Mason’s absence.
Seguin opened the scoring with 51.8 seconds left in the first period when he batted a rolling puck over the right shoulder of Mason for his fourth goal of the season.
”It was bouncing like crazy,” Seguin said. ”I just tried to whack it anywhere short side and it kind of knuckled (in).”
The Stars went up 2-0 just 11 seconds into the second period when Benn finished a 2-on-1 break, beating Mason to the glove side for his sixth of the season. Seguin assisted the goal, which was set up when the Flyers turned the puck over at the blue line.
”It’s a broken play,” Hakstol said. ”We got a little bit too aggressive.”
Philadelphia had several good chances in the second period, but Niemi denied them all. The Dallas goalie made a pad save on Jakub Voracek’s wrist shot from the slot on a power play with 14 minutes left in the period and then used his blocker to deflect Michael Del Zotto’s attempt from the point.
”I made some big saves and felt good,” Niemi said.
Couturier pulled Philadelphia to 2-1 with his first goal of the season at 8:57 of the third. Wayne Simmonds took the initial shot from the slot. Niemi’s save came out in front of the crease, first deflecting off of Couturier and then Seguin’s skate.
Niemi prevented Philadelphia from tying the game with two point-blank saves on a Flyers power play with 5 minutes remaining. He first stopped Simmonds and then slid to deny Michael Raffl’s rebound attempt.
Voracek, fourth in the NHL with 81 points last season, went without a point for fourth time in five games. He has just one assist this year.
NOTES: Neuvirth, who has a shutout streak of 132:05, could get the call on Wednesday night when Philadelphia plays at Boston in the first of 13 back-to-backs this season. … Niemi last started in net in Philadelphia in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup as a member of the Blackhawks. … The teams meet for the second and final time this season on Dec. 11 in Dallas.