Two first period goals (one off a defensive turnover, the other on a Boston Power Play) doomed the Dallas Stars to defeat against the Boston Bruins Thursday night. This came despite the re-introduction of Julius Honka into their lineup and marked the Stars second straight defeat.
The Boston Bruins struck first with 4:46 left to play in the first period. David Backes forced a Stephen Johns turnover at the Stars blueline and was accompanied by Brad Marchand on a 2 on 1. Marchand, in the midst of a season for the ages, pushed a loose puck into the net.
The Stars very nearly responded on the next shift, courtesy of Jamie Benn. From dead in the slot, the Stars’ captain forced a massive blocker save out of Tuukka Rask. It was Dallas’ best opportunity of the period, but would not fall. The period would end 1-0 to the Bruins.
Boston doubled their lead less than three minutes into the second frame. With Jason Spezza in the box, David Pasternak found Torey Krug on the far post for a simple tap in. The Stars compounded their worries with a Brett Ritchie penalty with 17:40 remaining in the period. This time, however, the penalty kill stood firm.
Matt Beleskey gave the Stars a chance to get even with ten minutes remaining in the second, and they very nearly managed a goal. Tyler Seguin put the puck on a platter, but by the time Cody Eakin could shoot, Rask had recovered. Devin Shore produced another good chance with the second unit, but again the Stars could not capitalize.
The Stars closed the period with a flurry, but could not solve Rask. It was a trend that would continue.
Long stretches of quiet punctuated by moments of action characterized the third period. John Klingberg, Remi Elie, and Ritchie had good scoring chances while the Bruins were held largely at bay. Even hat-trick hero Adam Cracknell could not seem to coax the puck into the back of the net.
Antti Niemi was not tested much, but made a nice reaction save on Patrice Bergeron with ten minutes left in the final frame. It was one of just six saves during the third period.
There was a scary moment late in the game when Curtis McKenzie took a high stick from Kevan Miller. He had to be helped off the ice and did not return. The incident did afford the Stars a four minute power play, but the Stars could not capitalize.
The Stars will finish their final Eastern swing of the season with back-to-back games in Carolina (Saturday) and Tampa Bay (Sunday).