PHILADELPHIA -- Wayne Simmonds scored two goals to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to their fourth straight win, a 4-2 victory against the Dallas Stars on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center.
Mark Streit and Michael Raffl also scored for the Flyers, and Steve Mason stopped 33 shots as Philadelphia moved three points ahead of the idle New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Jamie Benn scored twice and Tim Thomas allowed four goals on 29 shots for the Stars, who lost their fourth straight game.
Dallas missed a chance to move into the second Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A win combined with a regulation loss by the Phoenix Coyotes against the Florida Panthers would have tied the teams at 77 points but moved the Stars back into a playoff spot by virtue of having played one fewer game than the Coyotes.
The Flyers scored twice in the first period and then held on as Dallas outshot them 23-17 over the final 40 minutes, including 6-4 in the third period.
Philadelphia appeared to steal the momentum when Simmonds scored his second of the game at 12:21 of the third period. Vincent Lecavalier spun in the neutral zone and found Simmonds cutting through the middle of the ice. Simmonds entered the Dallas zone, skated to his right and fired a low shot from the top of the right circle that beat Thomas for his 23rd goal.
Dallas refused to stay down, and Benn scored his second 30 seconds later. Matt Read turned the puck over in the Philadelphia zone, and Benn pounced on it in the middle of the Flyers end and moved it to Tyler Seguin along the right side. Read blocked Seguin's shot, but the puck bounced off the end boards behind Mason, who lost sight of it as it bounced back in front. Benn came in and poked it past the goaltender at 12:51.
Of the Stars' 21 goals in their past seven games, Benn and Seguin have scored 12 of them. Seguin was credited with an assist on Benn's second goal to extend his point streak to seven games.
Philadelphia managed to hold the Stars at bay the rest of the way, and Raffl iced it with his ninth goal with 3:12 remaining. He took a pass from Sean Couturier in the neutral zone, got a step on Stars defenseman Trevor Daley for a mini-breakaway and beat Thomas with a backhander along the ice.
Streit opened the scoring for the Flyers. Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux beat Dallas' Cody Eakin on a faceoff in the left circle of the Dallas zone. The puck went to Streit at the blue line, and he rifled a one-timer low to Thomas' glove side for his ninth goal.
Just before the faceoff Giroux motioned to Streit to move to a certain spot.
"He [Giroux] told me where to stand and he got the puck right back to me with a perfect pass, and I just one-timed it," Streit said.
The goal was the 30th this season by a Philadelphia defenseman, the most they've gotten from their defense in a season since scoring 32 in 2009-10.
The Flyers pushed their lead to 2-0 on Simmonds' 22nd goal. With the Flyers on the first power play of the game, Jakub Voracek fired a shot on net from the right faceoff circle that Scott Hartnell, stationed in the slot, redirected. The puck bounced off the goal post and rolled across the goal line behind Thomas, who lost sight of it. Simmonds, who was alone down low, poked it into the net at 13:21 of the first.
"Jake had the puck up top," Simmonds said. "He walked into the middle and he made a great shot-pass to [Hartnell]. I actually thought Hartsy tipped it in. I went post to post and I was there for the easy tap in."
The Flyers had a chance to extend their lead even further when Benn was whistled for holding with 1:50 left in first, but couldn't take advantage. In seven home games since play resumed following the Olympic break, the Flyers are 4-for-28 at home on the power play and 4-for-9 with the extra man in three road games.
The Stars had the lone goal of the second period; Benn scored at 12:48. The Stars were able to take advantage of some tired Flyers penalty killers after Philadelphia had to kill off back-to-back penalties on Zac Rinaldo and Raffl, including 31 seconds of 5-on-3 time.
Mason helped defuse the Dallas two-man advantage, holding strong on the left post to deny Alex Chiasson twice, then sliding across to the other post to deny Benn.
Moments later, with the Flyers still killing off Raffl's penalty, Benn was able to find the back of the net. Alex Goligoski carried the puck into the Philadelphia end and dropped it to Seguin. Seguin made a nice move to step between Giroux and Braydon Coburn in the left circle, and he pushed the puck forward between two Flyers to Benn, who made a nice move and shoved the puck under Mason at 12:48 for his 28th goal.
Benn's goal snapped the Flyers' streak of penalties killed at 20 spanning six games, and was the Stars' first power-play goal in four games, snapping an 0-for-7 drought dating to the first period of the Stars' game March 11 against the St. Louis Blues.
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK