What a frustrating result. In many of their recent defeats, the Lightning played quite well for the majority of the game, but due to some significant, isolated mistakes or lapses, hadn't been able to record a victory. On this night, the Lightning didn't just play well - they thoroughly dominated the stingiest defensive team in the NHL. And at the other end, the Stars generated only two chances in the final 40 minutes of regulation - but they scored on both. Simply put, Stars goalie Anton Khudobin stole this game. The Lightning matched a season-high with 48 shots on goal. Khudobin stopped 45 of them.
Despite the result, this was one of the Lightning's strongest performances of the season. The Stars lead the NHL in fewest goals allowed per game. Dallas was well-rested, not having played since Monday. But the Lightning had their opponents chasing them most of the night. They repeatedly forced turnovers. They moved pucks crisply around the ice, which led to long, sustained, offensive zone shifts. And they successfully broke down Dallas' team defense. Khudobin dealt with a high volume of Lightning scoring chances and, to his credit, after Ondrej Palat's goal early in the second, he shut the door for the rest of the game.
The teams combined to score three power play goals in the opening period, but the rest of the game was played at even strength. And in the final two periods, the Lightning outshot the Stars, 30-9. They owned virtually all of the puck possession during that time, but after Palat's goal gave them a 3-1 lead, they couldn't get another one past Khudobin. That left the door just open enough for the Stars. They got one goal back on an isolated rush late in the second period, then tied the game on a similarly isolated chance off the rush with just over four minutes left in the third.
It's very hard to play a perfect game. Over 60 minutes, the other team will get its looks. The Stars didn't get many tonight during regulation, but they happened to convert on the two they generated in the final 40 minutes. That rally, combined with Khudobin's performance and Tyler Seguin's overtime winner, cost the Lightning a point in the standings.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
- Anton Khudobin - Stars. 45 saves.
- Mikhail Sergachev - Lightning. Goal and assist.
- Ondrej Palat - Lightning. Goal.