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Deeper than rock bottom

Stars embarrassed in 7-1 loss to Oilers

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Just when you thought it couldn't get any uglier for the Dallas Stars, it did. The Stars lost their third straight game, falling 7-1 to the Oilers at Rogers place.

The Stars have been outscored 17-4 over their past three games, a stretch that also included a 5-2 loss to Ottawa last Wednesday and Sunday's 5-1 loss to San Jose to open the Stars' current four-game road trip.

"I thought we hit rock bottom last game, but we got deeper tonight," said Stars forward Tyler Seguin. "We are going to have to find some pride here. We left our goalies hanging out to dry. It's frustrating."

Seguin wasn't alone in calling Tuesday's game rock bottom.

"That might be the worst game I've coached as a Dallas Star," said coach Lindy Ruff. "We need a lot more from the leaders of our team."

"We've got to find a way to show up and be a lot better than that," said Stars forward Patrick Sharp. "It was pretty bad."

The Stars have surrendered five or more goals in three straight games and seven of their past thirteen. They have allowed 227 goals this season, which is the most in the league. Their 3.29 goals-against per game average is the worst in the NHL.

"It's frustrating," said defenseman John Klingberg. "We've got to stick up for each other, work for each other so doesn't get even more embarrassing."

Brett Ritchie scored the lone goal for the Stars (27-32-10). Antti Niemi got the start in goal and was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on 20 shots. Kari Lehtonen played the rest of the way and allowed two goals on nine shots. It was the third straight game the Stars have used both goaltenders and 13th time this season.

Seven different Edmonton players scored goals, and Cam Talbot stopped 22 shots for the Oilers, who snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 36-24-9. The Oilers, who hold the first wild-card spot in the West, pulled to within one point of third place in the Pacific Division.

"It was a big win for us, 7-1 like that," said Oilers forward Benoit Pouliot, who was among the Edmonton goal scorers. "It's nice for everyone, and we've just got to keep it going."

The Oilers grabbed a 2-0 lead over the first 20 minutes and grabbed a 2-0 lead. After Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak broke his stick in the Edmonton zone, the Oilers headed the other way and Zack Kassian set up Pouliot, who scored from the slot at the 12:12 mark.

Edmonton extended the lead to 2-0 by cashing in on their second power play of the game. Oscar Klefbom scored off a blast from the left point at the 18:01 mark.

The Oilers made it a 3-0 game early in the second period when defenseman Darnell Nurse scored from the left circle off the rush. The Stars cut the lead to 3-1 when Brett Ritchie scored off the rush, finishing off a nice passing sequence with linemates Curtis McKenzie and Adam Cracknell.

But the Oilers scored two goals in a 1:59 span later in the second to push the lead to 5-1. David Desharnais scored on a rebound off the end boards at the 9:30 mark and Patrick Maroon scored off a backhand shot from the slot at 11:29 of the period. That goal ended the night for Niemi, who was replaced by Lehtonen.

The Oilers tacked on two more goals in the third. Milan Lucic drove the net off the rush, and the rebound went in off the skate of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Connor McDavid scored on a two-on-one rush to make it a 7-1 final.

"We're going to have to find some pride here, play for each other more and work harder," Seguin said. "Or it is going to be a long couple of weeks."

Notes: Stars agree to terms with college UFA Bayreuther

*During Tuesday's game broadcast, the Stars announced they had agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with defenseman Gavin Bayreuther, an unrestricted free agent out of college. Bayreuther, 22, just wrapped up four years at St. Lawrence University, where he tallied 111 points (35 goals, 76 assists) in 142 games. The 6-1, 194-pound native of New Hampshire, is a lefty with a good shot and strong skating ability. The signing is expected to become official on Wednesday.

*The Oilers outshot the Stars 29-23. The Stars had a 62-57 advantage in shot attempts.

*The Stars won 38 of 61 faceoffs (62 percent). Jason Spezza won 11 of 15 faceoffs (73 percent). Cody Eakin won 13 of 19 (68 percent).

*The Stars were 0-1 on the power play and 1-2 on the penalty kill.

*Stephen Johns and Cody Eakin were the only two Dallas players who did not have a minus rating in the game. They were both even.

*Johns led the Stars in ice at 21:10.

*Stars center Jason Spezza appeared in his 900th NHL game Tuesday.

What's Next

The Stars continue the road trip with a back-to-back set of games, playing at Vancouver on Thursday and then at Calgary on Friday.

Stars Lineup

Remi Elie - Jason Spezza - Tyler Seguin
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Ales Hemsky
Devin Shore - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie - Adam Cracknell - Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Patrik Nemeth

Antti Niemi
Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Greg Pateryn
Injured: Antoine Roussel (hand), Mattias Janmark (knee)

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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