PITTSBURGH -- Anton Khudobin played with passion Friday night.
His teammates, not so much.
In the end, that resulted in a 4-2 Stars loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that dropped Dallas to 1-7-1 to start the season.
"Not enough urgency," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery of a listless start to the third period with the score tied 1-1. "You need to come out and dictate in that time and circumstance, and Pittsburgh dictated more than we did."
Video: Montgomery: 'Not enough urgency' for Stars in loss
Dallas did not have a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the third period, and Pittsburgh scored the go-ahead goal at the 10:20 mark. In a game the Stars needed desperately to win, Dallas tip-toed around and tried not to make a mistake.
That cost the Stars when Kris Letang made a great play, faking a shot twice to get Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin to lay out on the ice for blocked shot attempts and then walking around both to stuff the puck between Khudobin's pads.
The 33-year-old goalie said that was a bad goal on himself, but his teammates had nothing but praise for his performance.
"He was solid, our goalie has been solid all year," Pavelski said. "At the end of the day, you've got to give them a little support."
Video: DAL@PIT: Hintz beats Murray on a breakaway
Dallas has scored less than two goals a game and continues to struggle to even create attack-zone time and scoring chances. Pittsburgh had a 33-24 advantage in shots on goal and a 58-47 advantage in shot attempts.
"Right now, you have to look at yourself and control what you can control and go from there," said Seguin, who had two shots on goal and five shot attempts.
[PHOTOS: Best shots from Stars at Penguins in Pittsburgh]
"Tonight, we needed a win, and I've got to finish my chances. So it's tough to talk about team stuff when I look at myself."
The Stars play in Philadelphia Saturday to end this four-game road trip, so the emotion should be dialed up.
Video: Frustrations mounting for Seguin, Stars on road trip
"I think we are not angry enough. That's what I think," Khudobin said.
Montgomery agreed. But when asked how the team gets angry, he paused.
"If I had the answer, we'd be doing it," he said.
"You can't drive passion into people. You can try everything, you can try motivational tactics, but it's got to come from within. Ultimately, if there is a puck between you and I, I'd bite your leg off to get it -- and that's the attitude you've got to have. Anton had that competitive spirit tonight that we need to permeate throughout our lineup."
Video: DAL@PIT: Khudobin kicks out Hornqvist's early bid
On the whole, the Stars' goaltending numbers have slipped a great deal from last season when it was the second-best in the NHL. However, Montgomery said before the game he didn't blame Khudobin and Ben Bishop.
"I think it's reflective of the team," Montgomery said. "Our goaltending numbers were really good last year when we were a really good checking team and they were excellent. And they are excellent goaltenders.
[CONDENSED GAME: All Stars vs. Penguins highlights]
"We're not that good in our own end, we're not that good at checking right now, and they're facing not only one shot but second shot attempts, and that's why their numbers aren't that good."
On Friday, Khudobin made some nice stops to keep the game scoreless in the first period. He then kept Pittsburgh at bay while Dallas scored the first goal of the game for just the third time this season -- on a pretty rush by Roope Hintz, who tallied his fifth goal of the year.
Video: Pavelski comments on Stars' loss to Penguins
But Khudobin was beat on a Jared McCann redirection to tie the game in the second and allowed the Letang goal and a Patric Hornqvist goal to see the Stars get behind 3-1 in the third. Dallas cut the deficit to 3-2 on a John Klingberg shot, but then Pittsburgh got an empty-netter to move to 6-2-0 on the season.
It was an emotional win for a team that is missing five of its top players to injuries.
"There's been a lot of moments throughout the season where we had a chance to turn this around, and string something together, and we just kind of let it slip," said Pavelski. "It's just not enough. We're at a time when we need results, production.
"There's not much going around this group. We've got to find it."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.