CALGARY – In the same city where Canada held it’s Olympic orientation camp in August, two talented forwards that were passed over made a loud statement for being included in the trip to the Sochi Games.
Tyler Seguin had his first four-goal game while Jamie Benn had one goal and a career-high six points Thursday night as the Dallas Stars scored four straight goals in the second period to run away with a 7-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
“I actually texted Jamie, probably early August when the camp list came out,” said Seguin. “I didn’t know him too well but I texted him about it. Yeah, I think we both wanted to make a statement.”
While it makes the odds longer, not being at the camp doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get picked. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron is an example of a guy that was picked for the Olympic team in 2010 after not being at the camp.
“There’s obviously so many good players in this league that didn’t get picked,” said Benn. “There’s obviously some pretty high talent at that camp in the summer. It is what it is. I just came in to camp this year with the focus of being the best player I can be.”
Benn and Seguin are off to a terrific start with 22 points on the season, two back of the NHL lead shared by Sidney Crosby and Alex Steen.
“There was a point where Tyler and I started laughing at each other,” said Benn, who’s previous high for points in a game was three. “You definitely don’t want to embarrass the other team but it’s just one of those nights where everything was clicking.”
Joined on the Stars’ top line by rookie Valeri Nichushkin, the formidable Dallas trio was too quick, too skilled and just too elusive for the Flames, who were a step behind all night and could not contain them.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff says the two should be opening some eyes when it comes to the prospects of playing for Team Canada.
“You’d hope that they’re catching some attention. They’ve had a very good start for us and they’ve been leading our team offensively,” Ruff said. “Like most teams, you don’t often find one guy up in the standings, it’s usually two guys that work well together. Those two guys have had chemistry ever since camp.”
Since the July 4 trade that saw Dallas acquire Seguin from Boston in a multi-player deal, the two have quickly become good friends.
“Right from day one, we were shooting texts back and forth when we found out about the trade. I was definitely excited to have a player like him join our hockey club,” Benn said. “We’re living in the same building back home so we’re spending a lot of time together and that’s translating to chemistry on the ice.”
Stephane Robidas and Ryan Garbutt also scored for Dallas (10-7-2). The Stars have won five of their last six and have reeled off five straight road victories. Goligoski had three assists.
Matt Stajan, with a pair, and David Jones replied for Calgary (6-10-3). The slumping Flames are winless in their last five.
“We just got outworked. It’s the same story,” said Flames winger Lee Stempniak. “We had a bad first period. We didn’t play smart, we didn’t play hard. That was a talented team and they took advantage of the odd-man rushes.”
Leading 1-0 already, Dallas scored four straight goals to open the up the second period. Seguin began the onslaught at 1:19 knocking in his own rebound after Benn got the puck to the front of the net.
The same combo struck again at 4:25, and again four minutes after that. That goal, making it 4-0, ended the evening for Berra, who was replaced by Karri Ramo.
“We need to get back to our game and get back to our game quick. That’s unacceptable,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley. “We’re basically giving games away with unnecessary mistakes. Basic, simple mistakes that shouldn’t happen at this level.”
Seguin scored 30 seconds into the third period to extend the Stars lead to 6-1. After two Flames goals, Dallas converted a late power play with Seguin notching goal No. 4.
When the Flames and Stars met three weeks ago, Dallas was last in the West, four points behind the Flames. Since that night when Dallas won 5-1, Calgary has gone 2-7-1 while the Stars have gone 7-2-2.
“It all falls into the same thing—not being mentally sharp, making wrong decisions, having turnovers, losing your guys, losing battles,” said Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman. “The frustration has been building for the last four games now and it kind of accumulated tonight.”
The game began as many have for the Flames, who gave up the first goal.
At 6:27, Wideman gave the puck away and then ended up screening Berra as Robidas scored on a slapshot from the blue-line.
Calgary has given up the first goal in seven of its last eight games and has been outscored 11-1 in the first period.
Notes: Nichushkin, Trevor Daley and Goligoski led the Stars at plus-4 … Wideman played in his 600th NHL game while RW Tim Jackman appeared in his 400th for the Flames … Scratched for the Flames was D Derek Smith … Dallas iced the identical lineup to what they deployed against the Oilers on Wednesday … Mike Cammalleri’s three-game goal-scoring streak came to an end for Calgary … Flames are 3-1-1 when they do score first.