Dallas Stars Fall 5-3 to Tampa Bay Lightning
Getting ahead 2-0 didn't work Tuesday. Falling behind 2-0 quickly didn't pan out very well Thursday.
Did the Dallas Stars score five goals? Then they probably didn't win.
The Tampa Bay Lightning did, though, and they two points that the Stars badly, badly needed will leave town with Steven Stamkos and company. Indeed, the Dallas Stars have not won a game in which they did not score five goals since December when they defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 on home ice.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche didn't work the Stars took a different approach tonight, surrendering two goals on Tampa's first two shots of the game.
When John Klingberg and Alex Goligoski combined to tie the game in a 15 second span of the second period it looked like it just might work, too, but a familiar story emerged.
The Stars were, stop me if you've heard this one before, the better team through a significant portion - dominating the Lightning after the brief bad start and leading in the shot total 28-13 through two periods after roaring back to tie.
And then they couldn't finish.
Dallas looked wholly unprepared, hindered by penalty trouble, to play the game's final period. They began with 50 seconds of Erik Cole's penalty to kill, then a Jason Demers elbowing call further tipped momentum to Tampa's favor - and they barely survived those.
Alex Goligoski's tripping penalty at 10:36 afforded Tyler Johnson a power play goal to make it 3-2, and Trevor Daley tied it on a pretty goal on the rush shortly thereafter, but it was clearly Tampa's period.
They out-shot Dallas 16-8 in the final 20 minutes, including the dagger with just over three minutes to play when a Boyle point shot was deflected past Kari Lehtonen by, once again, Tyler Johnson, to give them a 4-3 lead.
Nikita Kucherov added an empty-netter.
The start was poor. Kari Lehtonen was, again, probably not as good as he'd like to be- Though what he was supposed to do about most of those... And then the third period was poor.
Add to that the Stars got no offense from their forwards. Klingberg, Daley and Goligoski scored the three. Tyler Seguin looked positively starving for a goal through two periods. He and Jamie Benn were great. But no finish tonight.
The circumstances surrounding the fourth Tampa goal drew ire from the crowd when Jamie Benn, who did have the puck, appeared to be dragged down from behind with a free hand (I'd have to see it again, the officials obviously didn't perceptive it that way) - and seconds later Johnson scored the game winner.
Controversy, perhaps, and that was the second such seemingly missed call where an aggrieved Jamie Benn was involved in the game - but the Lightning kept pushing hard and the Stars were, perhaps, looking for a sleeve with orange up in the air.
Either way, I'm sitting here looking at another scoreboard that says the Stars had more shots and the other team had more goals. When was the last time the Stars lost and you thought "Boy, they really played poorly tonight?"
They may have strayed closer to that line this evening, but however you slice it they're finding ways to lose games, and the math on grabbing a playoff spot is looking pretty ugly.
John Klingberg continues to be a positive story in a season of negatives - that's his 10th goal, most of which have been beauties, and he took over 4th on the team in scoring briefly until Trevor Daley took it right back, but I think we all know how that's going to end up.
This one hurts. Again. They need some real mental toughness to stay the course and try to string a few wins together.