When the last day of the regular season began, Sidney Crosby and John Tavares were tied for the top spot with 84 points. Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins faced off against the Buffalo Sabres and he didn’t find the scoreboard, while Tavares popped in a goal and added an assist as his Islanders lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
At that point and time, it looked like it was all Tavares and Long Island was looking to have their first NHL regular season scoring leader since Bryan Trottier.
But then Benn took to the ice as his Stars took on the Nashville Predators and everything changed. He scored twice in the first period and added another into the empty net after the Preds pulled their goalie to try to pick up the win.
Then, at 19:51 of the third period, Benn assisted on a goal by Cody Eakin and landed with 87 points.
“My teammates gave a lot tonight and held the ice the last couple months and the whole year to get to the top, the scoring lead,” Benn said. “I’ve got to thank them.”
Benn won the Art Ross Trophy with the lowest point total in a non-lockout year since Stan Mikita won it with 87 points in 1967-1968. Back then, the seasons were just 74 games long.
What’s more, Benn averaged 1.06 points per game – the lowest points per game total for an Art Ross winner since the one and only Elmer Laich way back in 1947-1948.
There are all sorts of ways to look at it, especially when a guy like Tavares puts up career-high numbers and Alex Ovechkin scores 53 goals.
Benn managed the Art Ross while his Stars managed to miss the playoffs, so this is also a bittersweet accomplishment in a lot of ways. He’s also the first Star to win a scoring trophy and he had 23 points in a dozen games to rally for the victory. So, yeah.
In the end, Benn has to be proud of his achievement. He’s given Dallas fans a reason to feel a touch of pride following an otherwise disappointing year and reason to hope that next year (or maybe the year after that) will finally be the year.