EDMONTON – At home or on the road, the Dallas Stars have been nearly impossible to beat so far this year.
Jamie Benn and Adam Burish each had a goal and an assist as the Stars defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 Thursday, improving to a near-perfect 7-0-1 in January.
Mike Ribeiro and James Neal also scored for the Stars (29-13-5) who set a franchise record with eight straight road wins.
“It starts with goaltending,” Ribeiro said. “Both of our goaltenders have been amazing. It’s every guy on the team right now as well. It’s coming from everywhere.”
Stars head coach Marc Crawford credited goalie Kari Lehtonen for keeping Dallas in it as the Oilers came flying out of the gate.
“Kari was very good tonight, especially when we needed him to be,” he said. “We weren’t very good in the first period tonight and the Oilers were. They had a number of chances and he was equal to the task.”
Ryan Jones and Jeff Petry replied for the Oilers (14-25-7), who have lost four straight and have just two wins in their last 15 games.
“We went to the net hard and put pucks there and did lots of things that you need to do to have success,” Renney said. “But we turned the puck over enough times and that helped their attack.”
Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin suffered his 10th straight loss.
Dallas opened the scoring 12 minutes into the first period as Burish chipped the puck off the boards to send Benn on a breakaway. He beat Khabibulin with a nifty deke for his 13th goal of the year.
The Oilers scored just over a minute later short-handed when Jones converted a Kari Lehtonen rebound to make it 1-1. Edmonton outshot Dallas 15-9 in the period.
The Stars regained the lead six and a half minutes into the second. Ribeiro sent the puck back to a trailing Niklas Grossman, who gave it right back to Ribeiro at the side of the net for his 10th goal of the year.
Thirteen minutes into the second Dallas made it 3-1 on the power play. Benn got past Edmonton’s Colin Fraser and passed to Neal, who picked the top corner for his 19th goal of the season.
The Oilers applied good pressure late in the period and were rewarded for their efforts with just over a minute remaining. Ladislav Smid’s pass from behind the net went all the way to Petry at the point and he blasted a shot in for his first career NHL goal to make it a one-goal game.
“It’s a special day. Obviously it would have been better with a win, but it was a pretty good goal to get,” Petry said. “I didn’t see it. I didn’t see the light go on either. I saw everybody stand up behind the net, though.”
Petry’s goal was as close as Edmonton got as Dallas clinched the win with strong defensive play in the third and Burish’s empty-net goal as the buzzer sounded.
The Stars travel to Calgary to face the Flames on Friday. The Oilers are off until Sunday when they close out a three-game homestand against Nashville.
Notes:It was the second of four meetings between the two teams this season. The Stars won the first game 3-2 on Jan. 11…The Stars have owned the Oilers in recent years, coming into the match 15-4-2 against Edmonton since 2005…Edmonton was without forward Ales Hemsky (concussion) but captain Shawn Horcoff returned from a knee injury. Before Horcoff was hurt, the Oilers had a record of 10-10-4. Without him they were 4-14-3…Edmonton came in having been held to two or fewer goals in 15 of its last 20 games…Stars forward Loui Eriksson had his NHL-best 10-game points streak ended, the longest for a Dallas player since Mike Modano had points in 11 straight in 2000. Also seeing a four-game streak end was Brad Richards…Benn (four goals, four assists) has registered points in five straight games while Neal has six goals in eight games.