The Dallas Stars’ playoff prospects are looking a lot more secure of late.
Jamie Benn scored the shootout winner as the Stars came from behind to beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Thursday, pushing Dallas closer to punching a post-season ticket.
“There was no panic,” Benn said of his team being down 2-0 early in the second. “Obviously we took responsibility for our play in the first and it wasn’t good enough. We wanted to come out in the second and be tighter and better and then we won the third period and took advantage in the shootout. We’ll take the two points and move on.”
Alexander Radulov and MiroHeiskanen scored in regulation for the surging Stars (41-31-6), who further cemented their hold on the Western Conference’s first wild-card playoff spot with their third consecutive win. Dallas is five points up on Colorado and seven points ahead of Arizona.
“I think it’s the will inside that locker room and it’s those players wanting not only to make the playoffs but to go in there and play the right way,” said Stars head coach Jim Montgomery.
Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid responded for the Oilers (34-34-9), who have lost four of their last six games and are all but eliminated from playoff contention.
Edmonton got on the board first five minutes into the opening period just as a power play expired when McDavid sent it across to Draisaitl, who beat Stars goalie Anton Khudobin for his 47th goal of the season.
Draisaitl also picked up his 100th point of the season with the goal, joining McDavid in triple digits this season to become the first Oilers duo to crack 100 points since 1988-1989 (JariKurri and Jimmy Carson).
WATCH | McDavid scores a beauty:
“He’s a guy who has been coming along and really playing good hockey,” McDavid said. “There has been a lot made of his game and I am really happy to see him do something like this.”
It is also the first time in the NHL since 2010 that a pair of teammates achieved the feat, when it was accomplished by Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals.
“It’s a nice milestone for me personally, but it is tough to be too excited about that right now,” said Draisaitl, the first German player to hit the 100-point plateau.
The Oilers added to their lead just over a minute into the second on a highlight-reel goal by McDavid, who scored while shooting with the puck between his own legs.
The goal was McDavid’s 40th of the season, making him the first Oiler to record back-to-back 40-goal campaigns since Kurri in 1989.
Dallas got one back on the power play six minutes into the first when Radulov beat Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen high to the glove side with a one-timer.
The Stars tied the game eight minutes into the third period when Heiskanen scored on a shot through a screen to make it 2-2.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday night. The Stars travel to Vancouver to face the Canucks and the Oilers close out a five-game homestand against the Anaheim Ducks.