Tampa Bay Lightning Stage Comeback, Defeat Dallas Stars 5-4
None of this will come as a surprise, unfortunately
Tyler Seguin scored twice in his first game back after missing 10 with a knee injury, but that alone wasn't enough as the Dallas Stars dropped a frustrating 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tell me if you've heard these ones before: the Stars blew a third period. Their backup goalie, this time Jhonas Enroth once again, allowed four goals on 27 shots, including a weak one that should have easily been stopped that turned out to be the game-winner.
Continuing one of the most maddening trends of the year, the Stars have yet to win a single game so far this season that was started by a backup netminder. Enroth battled hard for the first two periods before giving up "that goal" in the third.
Adding salt to the wound, rookie wunderkind John Klingberg got fouled up awkwardly by his own feet, literally, in the second period, injured something in his lower body, and did not return. It's just been that kind of season for the Stars, hasn't it?
The Stars will now have two days off before taking on the Flyers in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The first period tonight went scoreless for the first 12:58 before a the two teams traded three goals within the span of 2:53. The Bolts opened the game's scoring on the powerplay with Jamie Benn in the sin bin. Anton Stralman fired a hard slapshot from the point and, like so many goals against the Stars as of late, found it's way through an intentional screen and past Enroth.
Dallas, to their credit, answered quickly. Lighting forward Brian Boyle took a hooking penalty the next shift after the Stralman goal and sent the Stars on a powerplay of their own. Tyler Seguin, who was very obviously fired up to be back in the lineup after missing time with his knee injury, took a cross-ice feed from Jason Spezza and fired a perfect shot that painted the top corner.
The tie would be short-lived, however, when Nikita Kucherov flew down the left wing a minute later, took a pass mid-stride, and instantly lifted a nearly-impossible shot over Enroth's shoulder for a 2-1 lead that Tampa would carry out of the first period.
Did I mention how fired up Seguin was to be back in the lineup? Seguin added his second goal of the game 3:52 into the second period, taking a smart feed from John Klingberg while alone in the slot that he wasted no time putting home. The Stars then grabbed their first lead of the game not long after when Vern Fiddler deftly tipped home an Alex Goligoski point shot to give Dallas a 3-2 edge.
Heading into the third period ahead by a goal, would the Stars finally be able to do something that they haven't done very often this season and defend a third period lead? Would a backup goalie finally, finally, be able to start a game and actually win it?
The answer, sadly, was no.
Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman scored two minutes apart early into the third period to regain Tampa's lead, with the latter of the two goals being a non-threatening wrister from a bad angle that Enroth certainly should have stopped.
With the Stars' net empty Brian Boyle scored from his own zone to make the lead 5-3. In a fluke play a Jordie Benn centering pass went off Vernnon Fiddler's skate and into the net to cut the lead to 5-4...but with only two seconds left to go. Fittingly, it just another moral victory in a season where the actual scoreboard victories have been nearly impossible to come by for Dallas.