Benn scores in fifth straight, Stars edge Devils via shootout
Once Dallas got New Jersey to a shootout, it was all over for the Devils.
Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn scored in the tiebreaker, and Dallas beat New Jersey 3-2 on Friday night, extending the Devils' NHL record for shootout losses to 18 straight.
Star goaltender Kari Lehtonen finished with 25 saves. It didn't appear as if he had to stop any in the shootout, with Mike Cammalleri's shot going over the net on the first attempt and Jaromir Jagr losing control of the puck on the second.
New Jersey's shootout woes date to March 15, 2013.
"You have to score," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said "You've got Benn and Spezza coming down for them the first two shooters. That's tough with the two shots those two guys made. We'll just pick up and move on. I'm not concerned about it. I know we're going to win some shootouts, so we'll take the point and move on."
Spezza scored after Cammalleri missed with a dancing backhander in front. Benn beat Cory Schneider skating across the crease from right to left.
"Those points are important and shootouts can be finicky," Spezza said "Shootouts are one of those things that if you get momentum as a team and start winning a couple, you get a bit of good feeling about them."
It was the Stars' first win in three overtime games this season. They lost the season opener in a shootout and were beaten in overtime by Philadelphia recently.
"I thought tonight was by far our best game overall," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "That looked a lot like how we played last year. We eliminated a lot of the mistakes. We got pucks out and put on some pressure in the neutral zone."
Benn scored for the fifth straight game for Dallas and Patrick Eaves got the other goal in regulation.
Eric Gelinas and Damien Brunner scored for New Jersey, which has lost four in a row. Schneider made 35 saves, including a breakaway stop on Erik Cole late in the third period.
The Stars now have points in five straight games (4-0-1), and they have won three straight on the road.
The Devils tied it at 2 at 8:18 of the third period on a controversial goal by Brunner. A prone Patrik Elias used his glove to slide the puck from the right corner of the net to the other side, where Brunner tapped it in for his first goal of the season.
The Stars complained about net being dislodged. The play was reviewed and the goal counted.
"We have faced some adversity in some games and we have been able to keep our composure," Ruff said. "As a coach, it something you like to see. We just went back to work."
Dallas was outshot 7-3 in the opening nine minutes and fell behind 1-0 on Gelinas' first goal of the season. Jacob Josefson, playing for the first time this season, collected a turnover by defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and found Gelinas for a shot from the left point at 5:21.
Dallas, which outshot New Jersey 11-2 in the final 11 minutes of a fruitless first period, took the lead with two goals in the second.
Benn went top shelf from in close one second before a tripping penalty on Gelinas expired. Spezza and Tyler Sequin outworked Andy Greene behind the net, with Seguin finding Benn for his fifth goal.
The Devils nearly re-took the lead midway through the period when Michael Ryder hit the post.
Eaves put Dallas in front with 4:12 left in the period with a goal that Schneider probably should have prevented. Eaves got the puck in the right circle and his unscreened shot found its way between the goaltender and the post. It was Eaves' first goal since signing with the Stars in free agency in the offseason.
NOTES: The Devils honored recently retired hockey analyst Chico Resch before the game, pushing the start back to nearly 7:30 p.m. ... Josefson got in the lineup because of an injury to RW Jordin Tootoo (foot). He was placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Oct. 21. ... Star D Jyrki Jokipakka made his NHL debut. ...The Devils and Stars are both playing back-to-back games. Dallas is at the Islanders. The Devils will face the Senators in Ottawa in the first game since Wednesday's shooting death of a soldier in Canada's capital. ... Devils captain Bryce Salvador and Stars forward Antoine Roussel had a big fight in the second period. It was a draw. ... New Jersey did not have a power play in the game.