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Dallas Stars Lose Preseason Finale 5-1 to Tampa Bay

The Stars were frustrated throughout as their creativity and speed were thoroughly stymied by the Lightning.

Tom Pennington

The Dallas Stars' preseason was a good one. You know, except for Tampa Bay.

The Lightning feasted on Lindy Ruff's bunch to the tune of 6-3 in Florida over the weekend before pasting them 5-1 at American Airlines Center Tuesday to conclude the exhibition season.

The Lightning were without Steven Stamkos, Matt Carle, Ryan Callahan, Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, Mattias Ohlund and, err, Brenden Morrow- But that didn't stop them from shutting down the Stars dynamic offense.

With impeccable structure Tampa kept the Stars high-powered top-six group to the perimeter, or else frustrated in transition throughout, and despite a +3 advantage in power play time in the game's first half Dallas managed just 10 shots through 30 minutes.

Dallas was unable to generate any sustained even-strength pressure and were able to test Ben Bishop only six times in over nine minutes of power play time as the 5-on-4 unit that was so deadly last night fizzled.

Then again, preseason offers opportunity for individuals to shine when the chips are down. Rookie penalty killers, a guy who gets a shot on the power play late in a game, or in this case, a guy trying to prove he can carry the load on his (Lind)back while Kari is out. Get it?

On that front the results were, ah, mixed.

A Tampa Bay goal 37 seconds into the game set the stage and a fumbled puck at the blue line during a Dallas power play really stole the show as Anders Lindback raised more questions than he answered Tuesday night, and the Dallas faithful made their opinions on the subject known.

That being said, he really made some nice saves throughout between the boo-boos. As with anything in sports, it's consistency he and Mike Valley will seek as they hone his game.

The absolutely perfect Nikita Kucherov one-timer was beyond him and most others to stop, and the Paquette goal in the third was the second or third rebound on a sequence in which he was getting no help in front.

We might instead concern ourselves with why he was called upon so many times at such a high threat level rather than his performance itself.

Of course, it's only preseason.

Don't tell the crowd, though. Another announced group of over 14,000 was quite boisterous as events unfolded in an unfavorable manner and the Stars' frustrations became their own.

I look at it as a good sign. It's an engaged fanbase. It's a group that shows up truly believing they're going to see some winning because of what Jim Nill has done with the roster. There might be some pain that goes along with that mindset- after all this club was an eight seed in an improved Western conference- but hey, that's a group that's going to buy some tickets and be loud.

Trevor Daley had to be helped off the ice in the second period before heading to the locker room after a shot appeared to sting him in a knee, but he returned. Sergei Gonchar also appeared in some distress after taking a puck off the ankle.

The Stars now have eight days to prepare for an opening night tilt here at the AAC vs the Blackhawks, and hopefully address whatever it is the Lightning do to them so well.

The highlight of the night, at least according to social media...