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Lightning snap road slide with 2-1 win at Dallas

by Steve Hunt
DALLAS -- For the second game in a row, the Tampa Bay Lightning got a monkey off their backs.

On Tuesday, they beat Boston 5-3 to snap a seven-game losing streak. Three nights later, Teddy Purcell scored twice and Mathieu Garon made 27 saves in a 2-1 victory against Dallas at American Airlines Center -- ending a six-game road losing streak.

"Obviously we haven't had the results that we wanted all year, but we had three big games before the All-Star break. We never stopped believing," Purcell said. "Two good wins we put together. We've got to finish it off tomorrow night."

The Lightning (19-23-4) won away from the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the first time since Dec. 17, when they won 3-2 at Columbus.

"We've been focusing on our starts at home but specifically on the road, our games have gotten so much better," coach Guy Boucher said. "I guess this is the accumulation of good things on the road and we get the win. It was a hard-fought game. "

Just over two minutes after Dallas' Tom Wandell tied the game at 1-1 early in the third period, Purcell took a pass from Martin St. Louis, went forehand-to-backhand to draw Kari Lehtonen away from the middle of the net and slid home a backhander at 3:36 for his 11th goal of the season and second of the game.

Dallas (24-20-2) is winless in four straight. The Stars last won at home on Jan. 7 against the Edmonton Oilers and have scored just four goals in their last four games. They are 10th in the Western Conference, two points out of a playoff berth.

"You have to work 60 minutes," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We have to work 60 minutes every night with everyone in our lineup, if we want to make the playoffs.  If we don't, we won't play.  That needs to be learned."

Purcell opened the scoring at 18:48 of the first period when he beat Lehtonen through the five-hole with a wrister from the slot for his 10th of the season.

"Teddy got the result of his work ethic and his battle level. His ice time always depends on his battling level," Boucher said. "And I thought tonight right from the first shift, you could see that he was in his game battling hard and he gets the result from his work ethic."

The Bolts got a scare when 4:33 into the second period when Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski knocked Steven Stamkos into Garon, catching the Tampa Bay goaltender's right arm and knocking him to the ice. After several minutes of attention from the training staff, Garon returned to the crease and the game resumed.

"Just a little stinger, hit a nerve or something. It went away, so it's good," Garon said.

Dallas tied it 1:22 in the third when a pass from Loui Eriksson glanced off Wandell's skate and into the back of the Lightning net for Wandell's third of the season. After a brief review, the goal was upheld and the game was tied 1-1.

St. Louis assisted on both Lightning goals, increasing his assist total to a team-leading 29.

Dallas finished the night 0-for-4 on the power play and is now in a 4-for-45 slump with the man advantage.

Lehtonen stopped 20 of 22 shots.

With the loss, Dallas is now 3-4-1 in the first leg of back-to-backs -- the Stars play at Minnesota on Saturday. Tampa Bay visits the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.
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