This was a frustrating result for the Lightning, because for the bulk of the game, they were the better team. They had most of the puck possession, shots and scoring chances. But they were done in by some isolated, costly mistakes that resulted in Dallas goals. Consequently, they left a costly point on the table and had to settle for just one point in the overtime loss.
With four other clubs coming off their bye weeks and losing on Saturday, teams are now 3-12-4 in the first game after the bye. Perhaps in some of those other games, the teams coming off a bye weren't sharp and got outplayed. But that wasn't the case in the game. The Lightning didn't display any rust and, as mentioned above, carried play for most of the night. Even in the first period, a frame in which they were outshot, 11-7, the Lightning likely had more scoring chances than the Stars. They also scored the game's first two goals, but couldn't maintain the advantage through the end of the period. After Victor Hedman scored on a rebound and Tyler Johnson netted a power play goal on a breakaway (his 200th NHL point), the Bolts had a 2-0 lead. But Antoine Roussel, who would score his first NHL hat trick in this game, answered the Johnson goal on the next shift. It was a beautiful redirection in which he batted the puck out of the air on his backhand. Roussel tied the score with just over a minute left when he converted a three-on-two rush. The Lightning were guilty of loose rush coverage in the neutral zone and the Stars made them pay.
As the second period progressed, though, the Lightning began to dominate play. They took the lead back when Hedman scored on a power play slapshot and they had numerous chances to extend their advantage. But Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen made 14 second period saves, including a shorthanded breakaway save on Johnson, and kept his team's deficit at one.
The Stars have allowed a league-worst 71 third period goals this year, but they managed to tie the game in the final frame. The Roussel hat trick goal came after a failed clearing attempt by the Lightning at the defensive blue line. Other than that one mistake, the Lightning had an otherwise solid third. They posted 11 more shots on goal and had several close calls, but couldn't retake the lead.
That trend continued in overtime. Prior to Jamie Benn's winning goal, the Lightning had virtually all the puck possession and forced Lehtonen to make four more saves. But eventually, they turned the puck over in the offensive zone and after the Stars brought it into the Lightning end, Benn wired a perfect shot over the stick of Vasilevskiy.
As I wrote last week following the Lightning's shootout loss in Minnesota, the point gained in that game would look a lot better if the Bolts followed it up the next night with a win in Winnipeg. They did just that. The same holds true in this back-to-back. A win in Colorado on Sunday would give the Lightning another three-point weekend.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
Roussel's hat trick goal, tying the game at three in the third.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
- Antoine Roussel - Stars. Hat trick.
- Victor Hedman - Lightning. Two goals and assist.
- Tyler Johnson - Lightning. Goal and assist.