‘He made a mistake’: Stars back Benn after costly eviction
DALLAS – The Dallas Stars defended captain Jamie Benn after he was ejected in the first period of their devastating 4-0 loss in Game 3, which put the Vegas Golden Knights one sweep away. of the Western Conference Finals.
With his team already trailing 1-0 in the first two minutes of Tuesday night’s game, Benn threw Vegas captain Mark Stone to the ice with a miss. With Stone on his back, Benn rammed his stick into Stone’s jaw area while falling to the ice himself. On-ice officials gave Benn a match penalty for cross-checking.
They reviewed the play on a tablet near the penalty benches and determined it was a proper call. According to NHL Rule 59, a match penalty for cross-checking can be assessed if the referee believes a player “attempted or deliberately injured his opponent by cross-checking.”
At 1:53 of the first period, Benn skated to the locker room with a game misconduct. Vegas scored on the ensuing five-minute major power play and again at 7:10 of the first period, chasing Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger after facing just five shots.
“I’m not sure you can script it much worse,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said of the team’s departure.
Benn, 33, declined to speak to the media after the game.
His teammates and his coach spoke up and defended their captain.
DeBoer said Benn “made a mistake” on the play.
“I don’t think anyone in the building feels any worse than him about it. I’m not going to take it out on him. He’s been a leader here his entire career and leads by example on and off the ice every day. made an error. Thankfully, Mark Stone is fine,” he said.
DeBoer acknowledged that Benn might consider additional NHL discipline for cross-checking. George Parros, Director of Player Safety, was present at Game 3 in Dallas.
“We’ll live with the consequences, whatever they are. We’ll live with them tonight and we’ll live with them in the future,” DeBoer said. “It’s a reactionary sport. It is a topical sport. There’s a lot going on on the ice. I am not judge and jury. I’m not going to play that tonight.
Forward Tyler Seguin, the second-longest starting player in Dallas behind Benn, said there was “zero” frustration with the captain in the Stars locker room. “Jamie is one of the best, if not the best captain in this league and the best leader. Collectively we lost as a group,” he said.
Dallas forward Joe Pavelski agreed.
“He was tied up and engaged and went for some more. Emotions get the better of all of us at some point,” he said.
Pavelski himself captained for four seasons with the San Jose Sharks. Was he disappointed with Benn?
“No. You ask me if I’m disappointed in the guy I have so much respect for? Who fights so hard? I have no problem with (Benn). We have to be better from there,” said he declared. “We’re in the conference finals. They don’t come every day. We still have some life.”
The start of Game 3 was an absolute embarrassment for Dallas.
Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault gave the Golden Knights the lead just 1:11 from the start of the game, received a pass from teammate Jack Eichel and quickly tossed the puck past Oettinger.
Just 42 seconds later, Benn cost Dallas their captain for the rest of the night.
Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy was impressed his team didn’t lose their temper after seeing their captain Stone attacked by Benn.
“We’re upset when we see that. He’s our captain. But at the end of the day they make a call that gives us a chance to make them pay that penalty,” the coach said.
The Stars did well to kill the ensuing five-minute major penalty until Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev scored his fifth of the playoffs at 5:57 of the first period.
“I actually liked our energy. I liked us shorthanded,” DeBoer said. “I thought even though we allowed the opening goal and Jamie took the penalty, I thought we had the legs, the energy and the attitude to survive it. Well, we didn’t. .”
Just 1:13 later, forward William Carrier beat Oettinger high glove side with a shot for his first of the playoffs and a 3-0 lead in Vegas.
DeBoer retired Oettinger after just 7:10 of ice time in Game 3. The Stars goaltender has played 33 games since March 1.
Substitute goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who last played May 13 against the Seattle Kraken, entered the game. He allowed just one goal, as Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored his first of the playoffs, on the power play, 8:28 into the second period to make it 4-0.
The Stars started to get lopsided at this point. Forward Ty Dellandrea has picked up consecutive penalties. Forward Max Domi hit Vegas defender Nicolas Hague from behind, knocking him into the boards. He then skated to The Hague to throw a few gloved punches at him. Domi was given cross-checks and roughhousing on minors, as well as a 10-minute misconduct.
Following these calls to Domi, Dallas fans littered the ice with plastic bottles and assorted trash in protest or frustration, or perhaps a combination of the two. Referees sent the Golden Knights and Stars players to their locker rooms with 21.6 seconds remaining in the second for safety.
The second period ended before the start of the third. Fans weren’t done: Vegas goalie Adin Hill was hit with a bag of popcorn as he walked out after the second intermission.
“I guess everything was hitting me tonight,” joked Hill, who made 34 saves for his first NHL playoff shutout.
Seguin said he was disappointed with the behavior of the fans – but ultimately said his team was the catalyst.
“Yeah, we don’t like that. We have amazing fans here,” Seguin said. “It’s not their character. But we put them in that position. They’re emotional, just like us. So we have to do better.”
Game 4 is Thursday night in Dallas. Teams that hold a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoff round own an all-time series record of 200-4 (.980), including a 46- 0 (1.000) in the round before the final. The Stars are 0-7 all-time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as they trail 3-0.
“A lot of stuff tonight between the ears,” Seguin said. “You have to beat us once more. We have a tight group here, a lot of character and we are going to give everything we have.”