DALLAS — If the Dallas Stars are to end their five-year playoff drought, centerTyler Seguin is one player expected to help them reach the postseason. Seguin definitely did his part in a 6-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at American Airlines Center, scoring his third hat trick of the season and adding two assists for his second five-point game of the season.
The Stars (30-23-10) also got goals from center Jamie Benn, defenseman Alex Goligoski and center Ryan Garbutt.
“I really liked the way the team played,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “They were ready to play, and played hard. There was a lot of good stuff. We want to keep playing the way we’re playing. If we play the way we’ve been playing, we’ll get results.”
Dallas led 3-0 after one period and 5-1 after two. Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves to earn his 25th victory of the season.
“We don’t even give ourselves a chance,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. “We don’t even get ourselves in the game and we’re down 3-0.”
Benn opened the night’s scoring when he tapped in a rebound 2:57 into the game. Vancouver
goalie Eddie Lack denied Seguin’s initial effort, but Benn was there to knock in the carom for his 24th of the season.
Seguin then flicked a wrister over Lack’s glove from the slot at 7:26 of the first period for a power-play goal to make it 2-0. Seguin added his second goal of the night at 11:59, blasting a slapper past Lack’s short side from the right point.
The end of the period was marred by an ugly play when Canucks right winger Zack Kassian earned a boarding major and a game misconduct for a brutal hit that sent Dallas defenseman Brenden Dillon into the boards in front of the Vancouver bench 1:30 before the first intermission.
“I can’t speak for what happens (with the league office), but I know the play,” Tortorella said. “It’s a five-minute penalty that can’t happen and those are the things that we can’t get ourselves involved in right now, so it piles up on you but it’s the right call.”
Kassian immediately headed to the Canucks locker room. Dillon returned to the ice to begin the second period.
Ruff clearly didn’t like the hit on his young defenseman, but feels the Stars got a nice bit of revenge in the game.
“That was a bad hit,” Ruff said. “The retribution is making the other team pay on the power plays.”
Dallas resumed its barrage early in the second when Goligoski beat Lack top shelf from the right circle for a power-play goal 2:20 into the period. Garbutt then made it 5-0 with his 12th of the season with a one-timer from the edge of the left circle off a pass from Goligoski at 12:08.
Vancouver (28-27-10) found the score sheet late in the second when center Zac Dalpe capitalized on Lehtonen misplaying the puck for a power-play goal 1:45 before the second intermission. Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler sent the puck behind the Dallas goal from near center ice, and after the puck deflected off Lehtonen’s stick and right pad, Dalpe knocked in the free puck for his fourth of the season.
Lack stopped 12 shots before being relieved by Jacob Markstrom to start the third period. Markstrom made his Canucks debut after he was acquired in a Wednesday trade with the Florida Panthers.
Seguin completed the hat trick with 7:07 remaining in the third period when he got the better of Markstrom to his short side to make it 6-1. It was his 28th goal of the season.
“I really like the way he’s played,” Ruff said of Seguin. “He’s worked hard in improving his game, and the defending part of his game. He puts that little smile on his face.”
Markstrom stopped four of the five shots he faced.