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Top line dominates Stars' 7-3 win over Flames

The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- It was the Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin show at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

Benn had a six-point night and Seguin celebrated his first hat-trick as a member of the Dallas Stars -- and then scored a fourth goal -- as the squad from the Lone Star State rolled to a 7-3 rout of the Calgary Flames.

"A six-point night is pretty impressive," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "Our centerman (Seguin) had a heck of a night, too."

He's right.

The Flames had no answer for the Stars' trio of Benn, Seguin and rookie Valeri Nichushkin, who finished with a couple of assists.

Seguin didn't even celebrate his third-period tally, which gave him the first four-goal game of his career.

"He's a pretty dynamic player," Benn said. "Obviously, he has a great shot and I think we all saw that tonight. Whenever you can give that guy some time and space, he's going to make you pay and I think he did that tonight."

With some help, of course. With six points, Benn also enjoyed the best night of his career.

"You've got to look at Benny's night," Seguin said. "He was making some incredible passes out there. Some of the plays, I was just fortunate enough to finish them off."

With the lopsided result, the Stars (10-7-2) extended their road winning streak to five games and, fresh off Wednesday's 3-0 shutout against the Edmonton Oilers, completed a two-games-in-two-nights sweep through Alberta.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski added three helpers for Dallas.

Center Matt Stajan was the lone bright spot for the Flames (6-10-3), scoring twice, while winger David Jones also added a goal.

Since surprising the hockey world with a 3-0-2 start, the Flames have won just three of their past 14 games.

"The way that we're playing right now, especially in the first period, we're just not giving ourselves a chance to win games," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "I just told the players, 'We're the same team that could play so well early on, in the first 10 games.' Where have we been in the last 10? It's mind-boggling."

Although Benn assisted on a goal by defenseman Stephane Robidas in the first period, the fireworks from the Stars' top line truly started in the middle frame.

Just 1:19 after the intermission, Seguin outmuscled Flames defenseman TJ Brodie in front of Calgary's net and tucked his own rebound behind goaltender Reto Berra to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.

On their next shift, Seguin spotted his star winger and sent Benn in all alone on Berra, with the Stars captain finishing it off with a quick move to his backhand.

Believe it or not, they scored on a third consecutive shift at 8:52 of the second period, with Seguin accepting a pass from Benn and ending Berra's night with a wicked shot to make it 4-0.

"They're a good line," Brodie said. "It was just one of those nights where they were rolling and we've gotta find a way to shut them down and limit their chances."

Backup Karri Ramo got a rude welcome from Ryan Garbutt, who roofed a shot less than four minutes after Calgary's goaltending change, while Stajan put the hosts on the board to make it 5-1 at the second intermission.

After Seguin finished off his hat-trick with a rebound goal just 30 seconds into the third period, Jones and Stajan each scored to make the score look a little more respectable.

Seguin scored again on a power play with less than four minutes remaining.

Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen, starting for a second straight night after a shutout in Edmonton, made 25 saves for Dallas.

Berra stopped 13 of 17 shots fired his direction, while Ramo turned away 12 of 15.

The Flames now await the Oilers for Saturday's Battle of Alberta, the first meeting between the provincial rivals so far this season.

The final stop for the Stars on their three-game swing through Western Canada is Vancouver for Sunday's game against the Canucks.

NOTES: The Flames surrendered the first goal in 14 of their 19 games this season. ... Both teams were missing key members of their leadership group. Flames captain Mark Giordano (ankle) and alternate captain Curtis Glencross (knee) are both on the shelf, and Stars LW Ray Whitney (lower body), who wears an 'A' for Dallas, is also on injured reserve. ... Two members of the Flames reached milestones against the Stars. D Dennis Wideman was suiting up for his 600th NHL game and RW Tim Jackman has now appeared in 400 games in the best hockey league in the world. ... Stars LW Vernon Fiddler is slated to appear in the 600th game of his career on Sunday in Vancouver. ... The Flames assigned D Chris Breen, who was cleared for action after missing seven games with an abdominal wall injury, to Abbotsford of the American Hockey League on a conditioning stint.

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