Some untimely penalties were the difference-makers on Sunday as the Dallas Stars dropped a 6-5 decision against the New York Islanders.
Playing their second game in as many nights, the Stars were still very much in the game into the second period, tied 2-2, until defenseman Jason Demers was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Cal Clutterbuck. The Isles would score with the man advantage, and then added two more before the end of the period as the Stars, as we've seen on multiple occasions this season, struggled to adjust defensively without one of their top blueliners in Demers.
Penalty minute totals in the game: 25 for Dallas, and just eight for New York.
The Stars made things very interesting in the third period, showing plenty of determination while scoring three times, but it wasn't quite enough.
Patrick Sharp extended his current point streak to nine games with a first period goal, while Valeri Nichushkin had two goals and Vern Fiddler and Jason Spezza added the other Stars tallies. Kari Lehtonen got the start in net and wasn't particularly sharp, making a few big saves but also allowing a handful of goals that he'd probably like to have back. In his defense, though, he did face 44 shots throughout the day.
Dallas opened the scoring in the game, taking a 1-0 lead when Fiddler cleaned up after a Radek Faksa net drive. The Stars had a chance to extend it on the powerplay but it was negated, however, as Jamie Benn took a double-minor for high-sticking and then Cody Eakin followed suit with a high-sticking minor of his own. The Isles would capitalize on the extra dangerous 4-on-3 to tie things up.
Sharp took the lead back three minutes later off of a perfect deflection of an Alex Goligoski shot, but Kyle Okposo would tie things up yet again before the buzzer sounded at the end of 20 minutes.
Demers' boarding major, as mentioned above, was the turning point in the game. Okposo's goal on that powerplay gave the Islanders a 3-2 advantage at 08:13 of the second before Mikhail Grabovski and then Clutterbuck padded the lead up to 5-2. New York peppered a whopping 20 shots against the beleaguered Dallas defensive group in the frame.
Nichushkin and Spezza made things interesting in the third, notching the three Stars goals, but Clutterbuck picked up his second goal of the game as well, while shorthanded, to keep things out of reach with what turned out to be the game-winner.
After falling to New Jersey in overtime yesterday, the loss marks the first time all season long that the Stars have dropped back-to-back games, something that was bound to happen eventually. The team will now get one day of rest before continuing their East Coast road trip on Tuesday against the New York Rangers