DALLAS, Texas – After back-to-back wins against Montreal and the NY Islanders, the Penguins ran out of gas Saturday night in Dallas.
It was the Stars that were hitting full throttle and dominated the Penguins in a 3-0 victory at American Airlines Center.
“We didn’t execute well,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “They came pretty hard and we didn’t find a way to execute and create chances ourselves. There’s no real excuse for it. We just didn’t do it.”
The Penguins did not look like themselves. They couldn’t find any rhythm or flow, and were losing many of the puck battles. When they did generate some scoring chances they were thwarted by some nice netminding by Kari Lehtonen, who stopped all 24 shots against.
“They outworked us,” forward Tanner Glass said. “A lot of times they were first on pucks. They were more physical on the puck battles. When they’re first and physical it makes it tough to recover pucks.”
Pittsburgh’s penalty kill, which has been clutch all season and ranks No. 1 in the NHL, allowed the Stars to score two man-advantage goals. And those goals ended up playing a huge part in the game.
“In this game we’re minus-2 in the special teams battle,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “That’s a big part of the story tonight.”
Dallas used those power-play tallies to build a 2-0 lead and the Penguins were never able to overcome.
“The penalty killing wasn’t good enough for us tonight,” forward Craig Adams said. “We needed a couple big kills and we didn’t get them. It was hard to come back after that.”
Defenseman Matt Niskanen’s career-long six-game scoring streak came to an end against his former team. Niskanen had totaled nine points (2G-7A) during the run. He finished the game with an even rating and still leads the NHL with a plus-29.
Other players that had point streaks come to an end were Evgeni Malkin (four games, five points) and Kris Letang (four games, four points).
Author: Sam Kasan