Bill Meltzer: Star Gazing: Top Line Powers 4-2 Win in Columbus

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It was only a matter of time until the Dallas Stars’ top line anchors Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn punished an opponent with an offensive onslaught. The floodgates opened last night in Columbus, as a hat trick by Seguin and a four-point Gordie Howe hat trick night (one goal, three assists, one fight) by Benn powered the Stars to a 4-2 road win over the Blue Jackets.

The Stars built a 2-0 lead early in the first period on a tip-in goal by Seguin on a shot by Benn off an initial feed by linemate Colton Sceviour followed by a spectacular wrist shot by Benn over former Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (31 saves on 34 shots).

The Stars rattled off the first eight shots on goal in the game en route to a 14-8 shot advantage in the first period. However, the Stars were unable to extend their lead before the first intermission.

Over the remainder of the game, Columbus outshot the Stars by a 25-21 margin, including a 16-9 shot disparity in the middle stanza. Kari Lehtonen (33 saves on 34 shots) stepped up to make some big saves. Nevertheless, Columbus rallied to tie the game in the second period on a pair of goals by top line center Ryan Johansen; one at even strength and one on the power play.

Early in the third period, Columbus had a golden opportunity to take the lead, as Cam Atkinson got loose on a breakaway. Lehtonen stoned him with a pad save. Midway through the period, Lehtonen denied Alexander Wennberg from point blank range to keep the game tied.

At the 12:16, the Stars went ahead to stay as Seguin once again deflected home a Benn shot. An interference penalty on Blue Jackets power forward Scott Hartnell at 16:55 forced the Blue Jackets to go into penalty killing mode as two precious minutes ticked off the clock. Hartnell exited the box with 1:05 remaining in regulation.

The Blue Jackets pulled Bobrovsky for an extra attacker to no avail. Seguin completed his hat trick into an empty net in the final second of the game. Benn earned his third assist of the night.

The Stars return to action on Thursday night, traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. On Saturday, Dallas returns home to play the Philadelphia Flyers.

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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