UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Jamie Benn can’t explain the correlation between his multi-point games and the Dallas Stars’ success.
He’s not wasting any time attempting to figure out the link, either.
“I don’t know. Guess it’s good luck,” Benn said after he scored the go-ahead goal 4:33 into the third period and also had an assist in the Stars’ 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Loui Eriksson and Brendan Morrow also scored and Richard Bachman made 25 saves to improve to 3-0 in the NHL and help the Stars run their winning streak to three games.
“We’re at a point mentally that we know if we play a certain way, (we can) win,” Glen Gulutzan said.
The Pacific-Division leading Stars improved to 18-11-1 and are 7-0-1 in Benn’s eight multi-point games.
“Coast-to-coast has been a long go,” Brendan Morrow said. “We wanted to focus on the game. All of our games have been down to the wire. We know how much things can change (in the Western Conference). A bad week can send you to 10th, 11th place.”
Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo scored for New York. The Islanders have lost four in a row.
New York’s Brian Rolston left the game because of a concussion in the first period. He had played only five shifts, totaling 3:47 of ice time.
“Rolston is day-to-day with concussion symptoms,” Islanders Jack Capuano said.
Kevin Poulin made 26 saves in his first start of the season. He’s the fifth goalie to start for the Islanders this season, joining Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov, Al Montoya and Anders Nilsson.
“Poulin was great,” Capuano said.
The Islanders didn’t give Poulin a lot of early support, and Eriksson opened the scoring at 8:36 of the first with a front-of-the-goal redirection of Benn’s centering pass. Eriksson was credited with a secondary assist on Benn’s game-winner and also finished with two points.
“It’s the same old, `Shoot pucks, go to the net,”‘ Gulutzan said about Benn and Eriksson.
Eriksson had not scored a goal in eight games and hadn’t had a point in five. Benn only had two goals and three assists in his previous 10 games.
Grabner tied it with 3:32 left in the period. Grabner he slipped behind Trevor Daley, and Okposo’s centering feed went in off Grabner’s skate. A review confirmed Grabner didn’t kick the puck into the goal.
Okposo gave the Islanders 2-1 lead off a rebound with 1:36 left in the second.
“We have to get better at playing with a lead,” New York’s P.A. Parenteau said.
But the lead only lasted until 1:07 into the third, with Morrow tying it on a power play with a quick one-timer from the top of the crease. The goal was Dallas’ lone score in six power plays.
“It was one of the plays we thought might be there. (Steve Ott) might tell you he was trying to sauce (a pass, but we) got a lucky bounce,” Morrow said.
Benn’s goal gave the Stars a lead it would not relinquish and it came off of a rush following a scramble in front of Bachman. New York defenseman Mark Streit pinched in to keep the offensive pressure on, but when Benn took the puck and began skating up ice, there was not an Islander to be found.
Benn ripped a shot over Poulin’s glove.
“We had four guys below the hash marks and that shouldn’t happen,” Capuano said. “A couple mistakes in the third cost us the game.”
Added Poulin: We gave them the game.”
New York failed to score on its three power plays.
NOTES: The Islanders called up Poulin and highly regarded defenseman Calvin De Haan from Bridgeport of the AHL, and put DiPietro on injured reserve because of a strained groin. … Even though his three-game suspension for charging New York right wing Nino Niederreiter was up in New York’s 5-4 win over Dallas on Dec. 3, Stars defenseman Mark Fistric was a healthy scratch. Niederreiter, who sustained a concussion from the hit, has not played since that game. … Dallas and New York split the season series. … Dallas’ three-games-in-four-days swing through the metropolitan area will conclude Friday night in Newark against the Devils.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)