Thursday, April 24, 2014
Stars' captain provides critical spark
By Richard Durrett
DALLAS -- It didn't take long for Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn to get his team back in the game and the series on Wednesday.
After a first period where Stars coach Lindy Ruff said his team was outworked -- and Ruff admitted that it "wasn't often" that his team gets outworked -- Benn took it upon himself to do something.
An early faceoff came just outside the offensive zone with the Stars down 2-0. Benn won the faceoff, shoved the puck forward and then rifled a slick wrister past Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen.
"Teams line up different, you kind of just mix it up, go off instincts," Benn said. "It was lucky enough to get a couple bounces, and I found it on my stick and just tried to get a quick shot."
It was a little more than luck. It's the kind of play Benn has made all season, helping lead this team into the postseason and now with an opportunity to knock off the No. 1 seed Ducks, if Dallas can win two of the next three games. It means winning a game in Anaheim, where the Ducks have played well and have won the first two of the series.
Benn, as he constantly does, was more interested in talking about his overall team's game rather than his own. And he was impressed with the resiliency shown in the series and in Game 4 in particular after a rough first period. Dallas didn't get a shot off in the final 9:21 of the period and it was the Ducks who pushed the action.
"We are a confident group in here," Benn said. "We want to play the same way all the time, if we are up two goals or down two goals. We regrouped in the first and came out with a strong effort in the second and third."
No doubt. Benn provided the spark.
"That goal was really important," Ruff said. "To get us on the board that quickly and get the energy back in this building [was important]. I knew if we could get one early in the second that would probably tip it our way because we’ve always had good push-back from adversity."