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Rapid Reaction: Stars Lose To Lightning, 2-1

What Happened:

The Stars weathered the Lightning storm for much of the first period, surviving two penalty kills, and getting spectacular saves from Kari Lehtonen along the way. Unfortunately, Lehtonen looked like the only Stars player who came to play, as the Stars could only manage 5 shots on goal, to the Lightning’s 13. Lehtonen couldn’t survive the onslaught forever, and the Teddy Purcell finally put a puck in with just over one minute left in the period. The Stars saw back to back power plays in the first half of the middle frame, but couldn’t generate many chances, scoring no goals. The power play did manage to get the Stars offense moving, as they began throwing pucks at the net, winning the shot count of the second period 12-5. Still, the Stars could not capitalize and the score remained 1-0 Tampa Bay through two periods. The Stars needed a big third period, and answered the call right away. Tom Wandell redirected a Loui Eriksson pass and the puck crept past Tampa netminder Mathieu Garon less than two minutes into the final frame. The tie wouldn’t last long, and Purcell scored his second of the game to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead two minutes later. The Lightning would hold the lead for the rest of the game despite multiple chances for the Stars down the stretch.

What It Means:

Another loss to a team who’s record would indicate that the game should be an easy win. Of course, in the NHL, records don’t matter day in and day out. The Stars have lost against three of the bottom four teams in the NHL, and while these should be the types of game that a team needs to win, nothing is guaranteed. The Stars are sorely missing their top two centers and have only scored 4 goals in the last 4 games. The Stars need to survive this slump and return from the All-Star break ready to fight for a playoff spot. The Stars record in back to backs shows that tomorrow’s game against Minnesota will be a struggle, but the Stars need someone to step up and carry the team into the break. These games are winnable, and it’s not like the Stars are getting destroyed. They’re fighting and putting forth the effort, but it’s just not enough. Game notes:

  • Tom Wandell scored his third goal of the season, and despite the loss, are still 12-2-1 when he gets a goal.
  • As usual, the penalty kill was perfect (4/4) and the power play was nowhere to be seen (0/3).

What’s Next:

The Stars finish off their back-to-back tomorrow night in Minnesota. The Stars have yet to win the second half of a back-to-back this season, and have picked up a point in just one, earlier this week against Detroit. The Stars have a budding rivalry with Minnesota, and this will be the first time they’ve seen each other since Minnesota knocked Dallas out of a playoff spot on the last day of the season last year. The puck drops at 8:00pm.

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Tags: Kari Lehtonen Steven Stamkos Teddy Purcell Tom Wandell

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