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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a collapse against the Stars

Bryan Burns on a tough finish, the shot disparity and a result that didn't match the performance

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL /

There's no way to sugarcoat it, that was a brutal way for the Lightning to lose.

Tampa Bay held a 3-1 lead against the Dallas Stars Thursday night at AMALIE Arena and were in complete control of the game. The Lightning held the majority of the puck possession and created nearly all of the scoring chances. By the end of the game, the Bolts had 48 shots. Dallas managed just 20.

Yet, the Stars found a way to come back and steal a game they had no business winning, escaping AMALIE Arena with a 4-3 overtime victory.

The Lightning earned a point from Thursday's game and concluded a four-game homestand with a 2-1-1 record.

They absolutely should have gotten both points against Dallas though.

The Stars got back to within a goal with about two minutes remaining in the second period. After being hemmed up for much of the third, the Stars got their break with a little over four minutes remaining, Dallas catching the Lightning in a slow line change and Jason Dickinson pushing home a loose puck in the crease on a shot that Andrew Cogliano was able to put through Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy but not all the way in.

In overtime, Tyler Seguin scored on a 2-on-1 rush to complete the comeback.

The Lightning did so many good things Thursday night, yet they have a loss to show for it, albeit one in which they were still able to grab a point.

Here's how the loss shook out.

Video: TBL Recap: Lightning drop two-goal lead in OT loss

Perhaps no sequence exemplified Tampa Bay's luck against Dallas than the final sequence that pushed the Stars to victory.

The Lightning had the puck in the offensive zone during the 3-on-3 overtime. Victor Hedman took possession in the high slot in a shooting position. As he drew the Stars out of position, Hedman slipped a pass off to his left for an open Tyler Johnson, who had an open net as Stars goalie Anton Khudobin scrambled to get back.

Johnson, though, hit the side of the net with the shot.

The puck quickly turned the other way, Tyler Seguin leading a 2-on-1 rush. Seguin called his own number and wristed a shot past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to send the crowd home in disbelief.

In a five-second span, the Lightning went from winning their second-straight game and feeling pretty good about themselves to wondering what they have to do to get a little puck luck and sustain a prolonged win streak.

"Well, it's how it works right now for us," Lightning forward Ondrej Palat said. "We have a lot of chances and it seems like every chance they get it somehow goes in. We have to tighten it up in our D zone and the neutral zone and we'll learn from that and be better."

Video: Cooper on Bolts overtime loss to Dallas

A look at the final shot tally would lead one to believe the Lightning dominated the Stars Thursday night.

They would be right.

The only place the Lightning didn't control the Stars, however, was on the scoreboard.

Tampa Bay's 48 shots were tied for the most it's put up this season, matching shot totals from wins over Pittsburgh October 23 and at Florida December 10. And it wasn't just one period where the Lightning were doing most of their damage. They were consistently outshooting and outchancing the Stars, the Bolts putting up 17 shots in the first period, 14 in the second and 16 in the third.

Conversely, the Lightning held Dallas to just 20 total shots, including overtime. The 20 shots were the fewest the Bolts have allowed to an opponent this season.

Yet, the Stars were able to make good on their few scoring opportunities and the Lightning left goals on the table by failing to connect on some prime chances.

"I thought we played pretty well tonight," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "They didn't have very many chances and it seemed like they capitalized on every one, and we just didn't capitalize near enough on ours. You've heard me say this line time and time again, you give up three, the game's going to be in the balance. It didn't go our way tonight. But a game like tonight, we got three, we probably should have won this game."

Radek Faksa's goal at 17:57 of the second period was a killer for the Lightning. Tampa Bay pushed its lead to 3-1 at 3:22 of the second when Ondrej Palat tipped Mikhail Sergachev's shot past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin. The Lightning continued to clamp down on the Stars, holding them to basically zilch for the remainder of the period while the Bolts continued to buzz around Khudobin's net.

But with time winding down in the second, the Stars started a rush - one of their only of the period - into the Lightning zone and John Klingberg found Faksa in the slot, Faksa beating Vasilevskiy, who had only seen four shots in the period up to that point.

"We were good defensively, we just gave them a couple chances and they scored," said Bolts defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, who recorded a goal and assist in the loss.

Faksa's goal allowed the Stars to hang around in the game. When the Lightning weren't able to extend their lead, an uneasy feeling settled over AMALIE Arena.

The fans were right to be nervous.

With 4:18 to go in regulation, Dickinson finished off Cogliano's shot that beat Vasilevskiy to tie the game 3-3. From there, it almost felt like the Lightning had to hold on just to get one point out of the game.

"We got a lot of chances, we've just got to bear down and score goals," Sergachev said. "That's a problem. Outside of that, we didn't give them much I thought. We played good enough."

Video: Sergachev on liking the Bolts play

Despite a frustrating loss, there were no glaring deficiencies in Tampa Bay's game. The Lightning played how they wanted. They stayed in their structure defensively and didn't take any unnecessary risks that led to opportunities going the other way. They played smart. They peppered the opposing goalie with numerous shots and worked hard in the dirty areas to create more chances.

It was just one of those nights where the Stars' chances went in and the Lightning couldn't finish enough of theirs.

The important thing for the Bolts to remember is if they keep playing the way they did against the Stars, the results will come.

"There's nothing you can do but just keep working hard," Killorn said. "We have confidence in the way we're playing. It's not like we're feeling sorry for ourselves. In a lot of these games, it feels like we're playing good hockey. You do that over a season, you're going to win more games than you lose. We're just constantly trying to get better."

The Lightning have been victimized by what they feel are unjust results over the last month or so, games where they've played well enough to win but haven't come away with two points.

Thursday's overtime loss to the Stars might be the most glaring example.

"We've got to stay positive because we're doing a lot of good things and guys are playing pretty well," Sergachev said. "We're getting to the dirty areas, in front of the net, in corners, battling for pucks. I thought we were hard to play against down low in their zone, just didn't go in. It's going to go in next game probably."

The Lightning can't allow old habits to creep back into their game because Thursday's result didn't go their way. They need to stay the course and eventually their luck will turn.

"We feel pretty good about our game and we continue to play the way we're playing right now, it'll start being two points instead of just one," Cooper said.

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