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Another Point, But Stars Still Lose in Ottawa

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This infernal road trip continues.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The grueling road trip for the Dallas Stars continued in Ottawa tonight with a trip to the Canadian Tire Centre to take on the Ottawa Senators. The Stars have struggled for consistency on this road trip and haven’t been able to make everything work all at the same time.

Ben Bishop was back in the lineup to take the start against Craig Anderson. Kari Lehtonen has played every game since Bishop left early with a lower-body injury on March 6. Brett Ritchie is now out with a lower-body injury, which means that Alexander Radulov will reunite with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on the top line.

Can two games be considered a run? If so, the Ottawa Senators have been on an interesting run this week. Twelve goals scored over their last two games, and seven of those were against the number-two team in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning. They’re not having the best season (25-33-11) which is good for second-to-last in the East.

There’s no way to make the first half of the period tonight sound more exciting than it was, which was not exciting at all. Midway through the first, the total shots on goal taken by both teams could have been counted on one hand. That isn’t to say that the Stars didn’t have some good chances, because Seguin had a two-on-one breakaway with Radulov, but Anderson handled the shot.

Things got a bit more exciting in the second period thankfully. Thomas Chabot took a slashing penalty against Antoine Roussel. The ensuing power play lasted all of eleven seconds because that’s how much time it took for these passes:

The fact that it was Tyler Seguin’s goal gives him a new career-high in goals scored in a season - 38 to be exact. 1-0 Stars.

The game picked up quite a bit after the seal was broken, and the exciting thing for the Stars was shot placement and attack. They actually came in close for rebounds, and managed to get multiple shots off one attempt. They didn’t score again in the period, but they also didn’t dump from the middle and hope for the best.

Mark Borowiecki - who has apparently made a resolution of sorts that he isn’t going to fight as much as he has in the past - got into a fight with Greg Pateryn, who was standing up for Tyler Pitlick after Borowiecki ran him over in what seemed to be a perfectly legal manner.

And then it was the Senators’ turn for a power play as Mattias Janmark went off for a hooking penalty on Mike Hoffman. The Senators were not able to score with the man advantage, though the Stars have Bishop’s posts to thank for that more than Bishop himself. The Senators hit iron three times, but luckily the bounces all went the Stars’ way.

The middle frame was scoreless, just to get that spoiler out of the way now, but that’s again by the grace of the pipe (the Senators couldn’t seem to stop hitting it) and some quick work from the Stars’ forwards. The shots were almost even in the second, but the Stars started the second with the rest of a double minor against Tyler Pitlick for high sticking. Quality scoring chances, according to Owen Newkirk’s counts, favored the Senators 8-6.

The double minor ended up being costly. In the last minute of the kill, Jamie Benn tried to clear the puck up the boards, but it got caught at the blue line by Chabot. Chabot passed to Ryan Dzingel to Marian Gaborik in a two-on-one against Bishop. Unfortunately for the Stars, Gaborik managed to avoid the crossbar. Tie game at 1-1.

Midway through the frame, the Stars were still looking for their first shot on net while the Senators wildly outpaced them. Janmark had one of the first chances for the Stars in the period, but got stonewalled by Anderson, only to have Matt Duchene get in close on Bishop at the other end and sneak a goal in top shelf. 2-1 Senators.

Three minutes left to go in the game, but thankfully the Stars weren’t quite out of tricks. Pitlick, hopefully looking to make up for that double minor at the end of the second that bled into the third, had two good chances in a row. The second shot which finally got past Anderson.

While he was falling down!

Unfortunately, while the Stars did grab the extra point, they weren’t able to combat the chemistry between Hoffman and Duchene in the extra minutes, and fell to the Senators 3-2.

This road trip to oblivion continues Sunday in Winnipeg at 6:30 p.m. Central, where the Stars will face off against the team currently occupying the number-two spot in the Central.