Whether you’re looking at a box score or watching the games, it’s not hard to see the impact of Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn on the team’s first round victory over the Wild.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff credited Benn with setting the tone physically in the team’s 5-4 series-clincher over the Wild on Sunday afternoon, thanks in part to the hit he put on Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon not long after the first period opened.
“The other night [in Game 5] he had the chance to start hard, and I thought he started kind of easy,” Ruff said, per the Dallas Morning News. “But I thought he set the tone for the team in this one. He came out hitting on the first shift. He was skating. These guys follow him. Whatever he does, they will follow.”
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Benn actually led the team in hits on Sunday with three, and kept his points streak alive with a goal and two assists in the Game 6 win—he now has points in six straight playoff games, just two short of Mike Modano’s franchise record, set in 2000.
The Stars would need all they got from their captain as the Wild came roaring back for four goals in the third period. But Benn, who was only on the ice for one of those goals despite playing over six minutes in the final frame, claims he actually kind of enjoyed that madness.
“It wasn't a big deal,” Benn said of that crazy third period. “Those are the times you really have to enjoy being out there on the ice. You have to want the puck. Stay calm, cool and collected, doing the right things, making plays and playing your game. I wanted the puck. I was giving my teammates a hard time. I kept telling them to get me the puck.”