How the vocal Jamie Benn ‘settles’ Stars youngsters Wyatt Johnston, Ty Dellandrea

The Dallas captain is leading the Stars’ third line to success, flanked by the two youngest forwards on the roster.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — When Ty Dellandrea and Wyatt Johnston are on the ice, there’s little mistaking who they’re listening to.

It’s Jamie Benn.

“I think he talks enough for all three of us,” Dellandrea said. “Johnny might be on the quieter end, I might be in the middle. I think he’s like the quarterback. He directs what’s happening on the ice just through his voice all over the ice.”

While Benn remains one of the main Stars antagonists with opposing netminders, Dellandrea said it’s more about communication with his teammates: “Johnny, I’m here. Ty, I’m here. He’s loud.”

Dellandrea and Johnston both scored in the Stars’ 4-1 win over the Blues on Monday night, helping Dallas to points in its eighth game in the last nine tries. Benn picked up assists on both goals, as the Stars’ third line continued to produce for coach Pete DeBoer.

The 19-year-old Johnston is now up to six goals in his rookie campaign, while Dellandrea now has four goals and nine assists. Benn, meanwhile, has 15 of his 26 points at even-strength, when Benn, Johnston and Dellandrea have spent the majority of the season together.

“It’s good that young guys, they’re not popping in a game that doesn’t mean anything, or when the game [is out of hand],” DeBoer said. “This was an important game, a playoff-type game tonight for both teams. To have young guys have that big an impact says a lot about them.”

Johnston scored the first goal of the game, a rush up ice in which he used Benn as a screen and then picked a corner on Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington. He also had the primary assist on Dellandrea’s goal, using quick hands in the slot to evade Torey Krug and set up Dellandrea on for a back door tap in.

“Unbelievable, great play,” Dellandrea said. “[Johnston] had a great game. He’s been getting better and better, and it’s been fun to watch. That was a great pass and lucky to be on the back end of it. …  He’s getting smarter, things are slowing down for him. Things are slowing down for him, making plays.”

Johnston now has two goals in the last three games after scoring just once in the previous 13 games.

Originally a first-round pick by the Stars in 2021, Johnston led the Ontario Hockey League in scoring last season before making the jump to the NHL this year. He said his confidence is “definitely pretty high right now.”

“Obviously, it helps when you’re able to get two points and get the puck in the net,” Johnston said. “I just try to play the same way. I think I always play with some confidence in my game, so it definitely helps when pucks go in the net.”

Dellandrea has rebounded from a broken finger in the preseason to solidify his spot in the Stars lineup. He is averaging 14:18 of ice time per game, and is second among Stars forwards with 2:33 of ice time per game on the penalty kill.

Johnston and Dellandrea are the two youngest forwards on the Stars roster. Benn is the second-oldest forward.

“He’s obviously a huge presence on the ice,” Johnston said. “The other team, they definitely know when he’s on the ice. So I think he’s able to create space for us, and he’s also able to make plays, put the puck in the net. He can do everything.”

DeBoer: “I think it’s leadership, he’s talking to them between shifts, but it’s also the freedom to play. No one’s going to intimidate you, or take a run at you with him out there. That’s probably as important a piece of his presence as the other things he does on that line for those guys.”

Benn just finished November with 23 points in 14 games. Entering Tuesday, only teammate Jason Robertson had more points than Benn in November.

“He settles things down for us,” Dellandrea said. “He’s kind of the rock of that line and creates space for us. He’s a veteran and an unbelievable player. He calms things down, slows it down for us.”

— The Stars sent forward Fredrik Karlström back down to AHL affiliate Texas on Tuesday morning. Karlström was with the team for four games, and was a healthy scratch in all of them.

— The Stars did not practice Tuesday, but will on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Comerica Center in Frisco.

Twitter: @MDeFranks

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