Stars struck by Lightning in Texas
The Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to snap a 6 game losing streak on the road as they travelled to the American Airlines Center to take on the Stars. The tough times continued for the Stars as they were without their top 2 centreman in Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro. Drifting in and out of the playoff spots everyday, the Stars would have been aiming for 2 points going into the game as they were taking on a struggling Lightning side.
The game lacked any sort of flow early on, but Sheldon Souray woke the crowd up with a shot that rattled the iron behind Mathieu Garon in the Lightning net. The first period turned out to be all about Kari Lehtonen, the Stars goaltender, as he produced a great double save on Teddy Purcell with 5 minutes gone, and then produced a sublime triple save just 2 minutes later to keep the game tied.
In a period of domination for the Bolts, young Canadian Steven Stamkos was shocked to see his one timer not hit the back of the net, after Lehtonen made an awesome save in close after some great puck movement. The Stars couldn’t rely on their Finnish goaltender for the whole game, and he was finally beaten with just over a minute left in the period as some awesome vision and an exquisite pass from Martin St.Louis found Vincent Lecavlier alone in front of the goal, who slotted the puck home through the 5 hole.
Tampa Bay took a deserved 1 goal lead into the locker rooms as they out-shot the Stars 13 to 5 in the first period.
Whatever Glen Gulutzan said to the Stars in the dressing room it definitely had an impact on them. They came out of the blocks quickly in the second, as Loui Eriksson laid of a lovely drop pass to Alex Goligoski who had his shot saved by the impressive Garon with 3 minutes gone. The Stars went on their second powerplay of the game approaching the midway stage of the second frame and it turned out to be their best few minutes of the game, applying a lot of pressure to Garon in the Bolts net. The Canadian goalie stayed strong though to retain his sides lead.
The latter stages of the second period also brought some good Stars hockey but they still couldn’t get anything to show for it on the scoreboard. The period came to an end with a great chance for Stamkos, only to be denied by a diving Brendan Morrow to keep it a 1 goal game.
Despite the lack of goals going into the third, it was a pretty decent hockey game with several shifts of momentum occurring throughout. The Stars finally recorded a goal and it came early in the third through Tom Wandell, as a pass from Loui Eriksson hit his skate and somehow squeezed past Garon to tie it all up at 1.
With a lot time left in the period, the Stars needed to push on and transfer their momentum into goals. However, the Bolts regained their lead just 2 minutes later as Teddy Purcell grabbed his second of the night after showing some lovely puck control and precision to put the puck in the net. After an entertaining first 5 minutes to the third, the final 3 quarters turned out to be quite dull as the Bolts held out to take the 2 points.
The Stars travel to Minnesota tonight to take on the Wild as they look for a win to get their playoff aspirations back on track.
Final score: Dallas 1-2 Tampa Bay
Scorers: Dallas – Tom Wandell
Tampa Bay – Teddy Purcell (2)