Goaltender Kari Lehtonen delivered another night of big saves, Jamie Benn produced a highlight reel goal and a slick assist and the Dallas Stars tacked on another number to a set of already impressive streaks with a 4-2 victory in Edmonton on Thursday night.
The Stars set a franchise record with their eight straight road win. Their overall winning streak hit five. And their points streak climbed to eight (7-0-1).
But it wasn’t easy. The young Oilers, who are 15th in the Western Conference, gave the Stars all they could handle for the second time in less than two weeks.
“They came out hard tonight,” said Benn. “We didn’t play our best game, but we got a big two points.”
The Stars improved to 14-7-1 on the road this season. The 14 road victories matched their total from all of last season, when they were 14-20-7 away from home.
“Keeping it simple,” said Benn. “We’re playing a good team game and I think that’s what you’ve got to do on the road. It’s paying off.”
The Oilers dominated play for a good part of the first period, but Lehtonen was sharp and kept Edmonton off the scoreboard until Benn could give the Stars the lead. After taking a pass from Adam Burish, Benn broke in on net, pulled Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin out of position with a fake and then slipped the puck into the net with one hand.
“He’s developing into a top, top player in this league,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said of Benn. “We’re certainly pleased with the way he has played.”
After the Oilers tied the game on a shorthanded goal by Ryan Jones in the first period, Lehtonen continued to come up big. With the game still 1-1, he made nifty glove save on Sam Gagner early in the second period to keep it tied.
“Early and all game long,” Benn said of Lehtonen’s stellar play in the game. “He’s been there to back us up the whole year. He’s a great goalie and he definitely did a hell of a job tonight.“
The Stars seemed to gain some steam after Lehtonen’s stop on Gagnon and controlled play for most of the second, scoring twice to build a 3-1 lead.
Benn then set up a James Neal power-play goal, skating into the Edmonton zone, making his way to the left circle and slipping the puck to Neal, who ripped a shot past Khabibulin from the slot for his sixth goal in the last eight games.
Edmonton’s Jeff Petry scored late in the second to pull the Oilers within one, but the Stars shut the door in the third period by allowing the Oilers just four shots on goal. Adam Burish scored into an empty net just before time ran out to seal the win.
“We'll take this win,” said Ribeiro. "We didn't play as well as we were hoping. They're a fast and quick team. But we stuck with it and kept pushing."