With Carolina and Florida both idle, the Lightning were presented an opportunity to move up the Central Division standings on Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay took full advantage of the chance, defeating the Stars 6-2 at Amalie Arena. The victory moves the Bolts into a tie for second with the Panthers and four points back of the Hurricanes at the top. The Bolts still own a game in hand on Florida.
Tyler Johnson opened the scoring at the 2:14 mark of the first period, snapping a shot past Jake Oettinger for his eighth goal of the season. Alex Killorn was originally trying to feed Anthony Cirelli streaking to the net, but the puck deflected off the skate of a Dallas defender and right to Johnson open in the slot.
Tampa Bay held the lead until the final minute of the first period when Tyler Seguin equalized for the Stars. Joe Pavelski won a race for the puck along the left boards and found Seguin open at the far post for a goal that tied the game at one with 27 seconds remaining in the period.
A pair of late second period goals gave the Lightning a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes.
After going 0-for-3 on the power play to begin the game, Alex Killorn converted on Tampa Bay's fourth opportunity of the night, getting position in front of the net and redirecting Yanni Gourde's pass past Oettinger's outstretched pads.
A great individual effort from Brayden Point gave Tampa Bay an insurance marker with 14 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Point stripped Esa Lindell of the puck along the wall and toe dragged his way around Oettinger's poke check before slipping a backhander into the net.
Dallas pulled within one midway through the third period, but Erik Cernak answered 50 seconds later to reestablish the two-goal cushion. Barclay Goodrow teed up Cernak for a one-timer from the right point that beat Oettinger with Gourde providing a screen in front.
Ross Colton and Mikhail Sergachev added empty net goals to round out the scoring.
The Bolts and Stars return to Amalie Arena on Friday night to close out their regular season series.
TBL | 2:14 Tyler Johnson (8) - Alex Killorn
DAL | 19:33 Tyler Seguin (2) - Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson
TBL | 16:39 Alex Killorn (15) - Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point - PPG
TBL | 19:46 Brayden Point (23) - Unassisted
DAL | 10:44 Andrej Sekera (3) - Joel Hanley, Roope Hintz
TBL | 11:34 Erik Cernak (5) - Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman
TBL | 16:47 Ross Colton (9) - Mathieu Joseph, Erik Cernak - ENG
TBL | 19:07 Mikhail Sergachev (4) - Erik Cernak, Tyler Johnson - ENG