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Stars lose their cool in Game 3 loss to Golden Knights

The Dallas Stars look for Jamie Benn to set the tone and provide leadership at critical times.

But the lack of discipline shown by the Stars captain Tuesday trickled down to his teammates.

Benn’s major penalty less than two minutes into the first period put Dallas in a hole, and the Stars imploded in a 4-0 loss to the Golden Knights in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Stars trail 3-0 in the series. Benn declined to speak to the media after the game.

“He made a mistake. I don’t think anyone in the building feels worse than he does about it,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “I’m not going to pile on him. He’s been a leader here for his entire career. Leads by example every day on and off the ice.

“It’s a reactionary sport. It’s a heat-of-the-moment sport. There’s a lot of stuff going on there on the ice. I’m not judge and jury, and I’m not going to play that tonight.”

Benn has captained the Stars since 2013 and was their second-leading scorer in the regular season with 78 points.

Dallas clearly intended to up its physical play against the Knights in Game 3, as Max Domi and Esa Lindell each dished out big hits on the opening shift.

But with Dallas already trailing 1-0, Benn crossed the line at 1:53 of the first period after getting tangled with Knights captain Mark Stone in the neutral zone.

Stone fell to the ice, and Benn followed through with a cross-check to the jaw that drew a five-minute penalty and game misconduct after review. Benn could face supplemental discipline from the NHL.

“We went in with good intentions,” Stars forward Joe Pavelski said. “It looked like (Benn) was going to have a big game from the couple shifts he had; he was engaged right away. Got tied up, and you know what happened from there. We’ve got to respond better.”

Dallas was unable to kill the major, as Ivan Barbashev converted off the rush moments after Ty Dellandrea was turned away on a two-on-one.

William Carrier put the Knights ahead 3-0 at the 7:10 mark and chased Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger, who had more goals allowed than saves (two).

“I’m not sure you could script much worse,” DeBoer said. “I thought we had the legs and the energy and the attitude to survive it, and we didn’t.”

Benn’s dismissal was compounded when forward Evgenii Dadonov exited in the first period with a lower-body injury, leaving the Stars with 10 forwards.

Dallas then lost its cool late in the second period, as Domi cross-checked Knights defenseman Nic Hague and was handed a double-minor along with a 10-minute misconduct. Hague also received a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and gave Domi a sarcastic thumbs-up as they departed.

Fans at American Airlines Center littered the ice with 21.6 seconds remaining in the period. When the Knights returned after the intermission to finish the second period, goaltender Adin Hill was greeted by a bag of popcorn tossed at his head.

“We have amazing fans here, and that’s out of character for them,” Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. “But we put them in that position. They’re emotional, too, just like us, and they’ve been on this run with us. We’ve got to do better for them.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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