Found March 13, 2012 on
Jamie Benn's goal early in the third period and Kari Lehtonen's second consecutive shutout gave the Dallas Stars their sixth straight victory, 1-0 over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
Benn scored for the third time in four games to give him 21 this season. He snagged a rink-wide pass from Brendan Morrow that glanced off Wild left wing Stephane Veilleux's stick and straight to Benn for the tip-in with 16:14 remaining.
The Stars haven't needed that long to score lately. The Western Conference's hottest team is 10-0-1 in its past 11 games, with seven victories in regulation. The Stars have taken over the Pacific Division race and have a four-point lead with 12 games to play.
Lehtonen made 25 saves. He hasn't lost a road start in regulation since Feb. 14 at Detroit.
With Wild goalie Matt Hackett pulled for an extra skater, Kyle Brodziak had a prime chance to tie it in the final seconds when Devin Setoguchi's pass set him up in front of the net for a one-timer. Lehtonen smothered the puck, even though he didn't appear to realize where it was.
Hackett, the rookie making his second straight start, made 24 saves.
For only the second time in 10 games, the Wild kept their opponent scoreless in the first period. They held up in the second period, too. Hackett served up a few big rebounds but received a loud cheer from the crowd when he located a loose puck in the crease and scissor-kicked his legs together to cover it from Benn.
Benn was around the net all night, so it was fitting he was there for the winner, too. Morrow has two points in two games since returning from an 18-game absence due to neck and shoulder stiffness.
He collided with Wild center Matt Cullen at the end line in the final seconds of the middle frame, knocking knees with Cullen and drawing a tripping penalty that gave the Wild a 4-on-3 advantage. The Stars killed that off, and have given up only one power-play goal in the last 35 situations. They reached the top 10 in the NHL in that category after previously being in the bottom third.
Cullen hobbled to the locker room but returned in the third period. Wild defenseman Steven Kampfer took a stick to the face and left the ice, too.
The Wild, in danger of posting their lowest point total in 10 years, fell to 29-31-10. They were 20-7-3 in mid-December, with the NHL's best record.
NOTES: The Stars recalled Benn's younger brother, defenseman Jordie Benn, before the game from their AHL affiliate. He was a healthy scratch. ... Wild RW Cal Clutterbuck (illness) returned from a three-game absence. RW Nick Johnson was a healthy scratch, two days after coach Mike Yeo said he needed to see more urgency and better effort from his skaters. ... Stars D Sheldon Souray (lower body) was scratched for the second straight game. RW Radek Dvorak (ankle) was out, too, after getting hurt in the previous game.
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