The Dallas Stars continue to slide, and their latest loss was a tough one.
The Stars squandered a 2-0 lead in the third period and gave up the winning goal with 11 seconds remaining in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at American Airlines Center. The loss was the seventh straight for the Stars (0-5-2).
"It's a tough one, obviously," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "Giving up three goals in the third with a two-goal lead; it's disappointing right now."
[WATCH: All Stars vs. Bruins highlights]
"It's just tough," said Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen. "We had the game."
The Stars built a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes on goals by Esa Lindell and a shorthanded tally by Benn. But Boston bounced back in the third on goals by Brad Marchand and a shorthanded tally by Tim Schaller to tie the game 2-2.
Video: BOS@DAL: Lindell whips wrister through Rask in 1st
Then, with time winding down, the Bruins won a puck battle behind the Dallas net and Marchand set up David Pastrnak who slipped the puck past Lehtonen with 11.1 seconds remaining.
"I didn't think we were very good in our own end with the puck," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock. "We had all kinds of opportunities on their first and third goals, to get it out. It really started with icings. We iced it. We ended up getting hemmed in, but we had the puck on our stick and fumbled it. Then we over-committed to the board play on the winning goal."
Friday's game wasn't a true must-win for the Stars, but it was as close as you could get as they tried to claw their way back closer to a playoff spot. The loss left the Stars, who fell to 38-29-8, still four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with just seven games remaining.
"We've got seven more games that we can win, so we're going to stick with it and try and win all seven, but take it one game at a time," said Benn.
Tuukka Rask stopped 40 shots for Boston (46-17-10), and Marchand had one goal and two assists and Pastrnak had one goal and one assist. The Bruins won for the sixth time this season when trailing after two periods.
Video: BOS@DAL: Lehtonen slides across to stone Pastrnak
"We have been down a lot this year and come back from it," said Schaller. "It is not always easy winning from behind, but we know we can, it is always good to have that in our back pocket."
The Stars came with a strong push early and scored 2:26 into the game to take a 1-0 lead. As Dallas' fourth line applied some good pressure, Curtis McKenzie sent a pass from near the net to Lindell who scored from the top of the left circle.
The Stars came close to extending the lead two minutes later, but a Devin Shore redirection hit the post. Dallas had two chances on the power play in the period but couldn't take advantage.
Lehtonen came up big in the second period, stopping all 16 shots he faced including seven with Boston on the power play. He had two sharp saves on power-play attempts from Pastrnak and another from David Krejci to keep the Stars up 1-0.
On Boston's third power play of the period, the Stars scored shorthanded to push the lead to 2-0 when Benn won a race to a loose puck and scored on a breakaway, beating Rask five-hole with 37.5 seconds left in the period.
Video: BOS@DAL: Benn finishes nifty move for SHG
Boston cut the lead to 2-1 at 1:17 of the third when a Pastrnak shot from the slot bounced off Marchand and past Lehtonen.
Schaller tied the game at the 9:47 mark of the third, taking a pass from Marchand and scoring on a two-on-one shorthanded rush, slipping a backhand shot past Lehtonen to make it a 2-2 game.
"[The puck] was bobbling a little bit, so I thought maybe the goalie would come out a little bit," Schaller said. "I thought if I gave him a little flinch he would react to it, and he did, and I was able to sneak it in."
It stayed a 2-2 game until the final seconds when Pastrnak tallied the late game-winner that sent the Stars to a seventh straight loss.
"It sucks to lose, especially at this point in the season," said Stars defenseman Stephen Johns. "It's tough."
Video: BOS@DAL: Stars honor Langenbrunner before game
The Stars are 5-10-4 in their last 19 games.
Friday's loss snapped a five-game home points streak for the Stars.
The Bruins have won five straight games in Dallas.
The Stars outshot the Bruins 42-36. Boston had a 74-67 advantage in shot attempts.
Alexander Radulov led the Stars with 6 shots on goal.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 33 of 36 shots in goal for the Stars.
The Stars blocked 25 shots in the game. Greg Pateryn was tops with 8.
The Stars were 0-4 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
The Stars won 32 of 65 faceoffs (49 percent). Tyler Seguin won 10 of 18 (56 percent). Radek Faksa won 12 of 24 (50 percent). Devin Shore won 5 of 8 (63 percent). Jason Dickinson won 4 of 8 (50 percent). Jamie Benn won 1 of 7 (14 percent).
John Klingberg led the Stars with 23:36 of ice time.
Video: Hitchcock reacts to home loss
The Stars host Vancouver on Sunday at American Center. The Stars are 1-1-0 against the Canucks this season, winning 2-1 in overtime in Vancouver on Oct. 30 and losing 6-0 in Dallas on Feb. 11.
Video: The Captain speaks following tough loss
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Brett Ritchie
Mattias Janmark - Radek Faksa - Alexander Radulov
Antoine Roussel - Devin Shore- Tyler Pitlick
Remi Elie - Jason Dickinson - Curtis McKenzie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Marc Methot - Stephen Johns
Scratched: Julius Honka, Gemel Smith, Dillon Heatherington
Injured: Ben Bishop (knee), Jason Spezza (back), Martin Hanzal (back)
Video: DAL Recap: Lindell, Benn score in 3-2 defeat
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.