NHL: Surging Stars sink Canucks, clinch playoff spot

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Jamie Benn’s power-play goal broke a tie late in the third period and helped give the visiting Dallas Stars a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks and a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Roope Hintz netted one goal and two assists while Jason Robertson and Benn collected one goal and one assist for the Stars, who sit atop the Western Conference standings. Goaltender Jake Oettinger made 27 saves and Joe Pavelski collected two assists.

With overtime looming but the Stars on an advantage due to a high-sticking penalty on Teddy Blueger, Benn set up shop in the slot during a power play and blasted a one-timer of a slap shot set up by Pavelski to make it 2-1 with 3:08 remaining in regulation.

Benn’s goal was his seventh in a six-game goal streak and 18th of the season. He also extended his point streak to eight games, in which he’s collected seven goals and 12 points. His assist on Hintz’s first-period goal gave him 900 career points.

Robertson added an empty-net goal 65 seconds later, his 27th goal of the campaign, to round out the scoring in a hard-fought, close-checking clash between two of the league’s top clubs.

The Stars (46-19-9, 101 points) are riding a six-game winning streak and have won 11 of their last 13.

J.T. Miller scored his 35th goal of the season for the Pacific Division-leading Canucks (45-20-8, 98 points), who have lost two straight in regulation. Goalie Casey DeSmith made 31 saves.

Vancouver is 4-3-1 during a nine-game homestand that concludes Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Hintz notched his first goal in nine games, a power-play tally with 72 seconds remaining in the first period. His first attempt after a great crossing feed from Robertson was denied, but Hintz buried the rebound for his 27th goal of the season.

Miller tied the game nearing the midway point of the second period with his 35th of the campaign. Conor Garland took a hard hit at the end boards but held the puck before sliding a perfect pass to the slot for Miller to unload a rocket of a one-timer.

–Field Level Media

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