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Late goal sinks Stars in 4-3 loss to Blues

Stars can't take advantage of opportunities as road woes continue

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The road continues to be an unfriendly place for the Dallas Stars. The Stars lost for the eighth time in their past ten games (2-6-2) on the road, falling 4-3 to the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center Saturday night.

Patrik Berglund's redirection from the left circle with 1:54 remaining in the third period snapped a 3-3 tie and sent the Stars to their third straight defeat overall (0-2-1).

The Stars played well over the final two periods, outshooting the Blues 21-9 but they missed on some quality scoring chances when the game was up for grabs in the third period.

"I am going to be honest, this one sucks. I think we really deserved to win today," said defenseman John Klingberg. "We owned the third period. We had some really good chances, and we were really close to scoring. This is a tough one. We really needed the points."

"We had our opportunities in the third period," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had a couple of really good opportunities early and if you don't score you are not going to win the game."

You don't win many games when you lose the special teams battle, and the Stars came up short there as well. The Stars surrendered two power-play goals for the third straight game. They are 2-8 on the penalty kill during that stretch. Their road penalty kill has allowed a league-high 22 goals against and ranks last in the league at 68.1 percent.

"We just have to keep working at it," Stars forward Patrick Eaves said. "There's no simple solution. If there was, maybe we would have figured it out by now."

Lauri Korpikoski, Eaves, and Klingberg scored for the Stars, who fell to 16-16-8. Kari Lehtonen got the start in goal and was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on 14 shots. Antti Niemi played the rest of the way and stopped seven of eight shots.

Paul Stastny scored two goals and assisted on one other for the Blues, who improved to 21-14-5 on the season.

"This was an emotional game," Stastny said. "'They always bring their 'A' game. We did the things we had to do to get it done."

The Stars took the early lead on a goal by Korpikoski, who took a pass from Jordie Benn and scored on a breakaway 2:20 into the game.

But the Blues bounced back with two goals to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. St. Louis got a good bounce on the first goal. Blues defenseman Brad Hunt dumped the puck into the corner and the puck bounced out to the front of the net, catching the Stars off guard and Stastny swept in and put it past Lehtonen to tie the game at the 9:27 mark.

"I haven't seen it yet but I think it was a weird bounce and a miscommunication between me and Kari," Klingberg said. "It was a tough one, but we battled back."

St. Louis went on the game's first power play late in the period and cashed in to take the lead. Just after the Stars cleared the zone but couldn't get the puck deep, the Blues turned it around and Alex Steen set up Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored from the slot at the 16:43 mark to make it a 2-1 game.

The Stars drew even 35 seconds into the second by taking advantage of their first power play of the game. Eaves put home the rebound of a Jason Spezza shot from the point to tie the game 2-2. The Blues regained the lead with their second power-play goal of the night. Stastny tipped in a Steen shot from the point at 7:51 of the second to give the Blues a 3-2 lead and end the night for Lehtonen, who stopped 11 of 14 shots and was replaced by Niemi.

"I just saw three goals on 14 shots," Ruff said, "and I tried to change the momentum of the game."

The Stars tied the game at 18:35 of the second on a slick goal by Klingberg, who slipped by Stastny at the point and then slashed his way down the slot before beating Blues goaltender Carter Hutton with a wrist shot with the two sides playing four-on-four.

The Stars had some glorious chances to take the lead in the first minute of the third. Jamie Oleksiak couldn't finish a rebound chance off the rush and then with Hutton down in the crease, an Eaves backhand shot at a mostly open net hit the shin of Blues defenseman Colton Parayko. Later in the third, Hutton made a nice stop on Korpikoski off the rush and then Klingberg shot wide on a close-range bid.

But then it was Berglund, setting up shot in the left circle and redirecting Kevin Shattenkirk's shot from the point into the net to give the Blues the win and hand the Stars their third straight loss.

"I thought we played a good third period," said Eaves. "They just made a great play on the goal. I thought we had a lot of chances and we didn't find the back of the net, and they did. That's just how it goes sometimes. But we had our looks too."

Notes

*The Stars outshot the Blues 28-22 and had a 48-47 advantage in shot attempts.

*Patrick Eaves led the Stars with 6 shots on goal and 7 shot attempts.

*Eaves' goal was his 14th of the season, tying him with Tyler Seguin for the team lead.

*John Klingberg has scored three goals in the past five games.

*Klingberg led the Stars with 26:21 of ice time.

*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 1-3 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 36 of 67 faceoffs (54 percent). Cody Eakin won 17 of 25 faceoffs (68 percent) for Dallas.

What's Next

The Stars continue to California where they will conclude their road trip with a back-to-back set against Los Angeles (Monday) and Anaheim (Tuesday). The Stars are 1-0-1 against the Kings this season and 2-0-0 against the Ducks.

Stars Lineup

Jiri Hudler - Jason Spezza - Tyler Seguin
Devin Shore - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Patrick Eaves
Lauri Korpikoski - Adam Cracknell - Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Jamie Oleksiak
Johnny Oduya - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

Scratched: Stephen Johns, Curtis McKenzie
Conditioning: Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Jamie Benn (foot), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)

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 Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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