Stars forward Antoine Roussel was shaken up by a hard hit to the head early in the game, but returned to play and scored a key goal late in the Stars’ 5-2 victory in Tampa Bay Saturday.
Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas hit Roussel in the head in the neutral zone at 7:33 of the first period, and received a match penalty on the play.
“I didn’t’ see it, but it shook me up a little bit,” said Roussel, who returned after the Stars’ five-minute power play had expired. “I was waiting to see how I felt. It took me about a minute to get back to normal, and it went well after that.”
Roussel then scored a huge goal, scoring off a rebound to put the Stars up 5-2 at the 7:57 mark of the third period.
“That was kind of the killer goal, so that was good for us,” Roussel said.
Although Roussel returned and finished the game, coach Lindy Ruff said the Stars will need to see how Roussel is doing prior to Sunday’s game against Florida.
“I give him credit for playing, but for the most part I didn’t like his game after that. He’s a tough nut, he passed his test and he’s going to play, but I don’t think he was his normal self,” Ruff said.
Power play woes
The power play remains a sore spot for the Stars, who were 0-5 in Saturday’s game and missed on a five-minute opportunity and a four-minute chance in the game.
“We slowed down too much, too much standing, too much getting the puck and hanging on to it,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’ll take a hard look and try to make some quick corrections. It could have been a big difference maker for us, but we got through it.”
The Stars are 0-15 on the power play during the first four games of their current road trip.
“We’ve all probably got to get on the same page, a group of five on each unit there,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We had a few good looks, but it’s got to make a difference in the game and I don’t think it did tonight.
“Power plays are most successful when you shoot the puck, go out there and play hockey and not think about it too much.”
With the quick turnaround to Sunday’s game in Florida, Stars coach Lindy Ruff and his staff will have a goaltending decision to make. Ruff wouldn’t say whether he’d go with Kari Lehtonen, who made his eighth straight start Saturday or Tim Thomas. He merely said it was something he and his staff would discuss Saturday night.
*The Stars improved to 11-7-1 since the Olympic break.
*The Stars are 6-2-0 in their last eight games.
*The Stars have scored four goals or more in four of their last five games.
*Tampa Bay outshot the Stars 29-28. Sergei Gonchar led the Stars with five shots on goal.
*The Stars were 0-5 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 26 of 59 faceoffs (44 percent). Cody Eakin won 9 of 15. Vernon Fiddler won 7 of 15. Jamie Benn won 5 of 11.
*Benn’s two goals give him 32 on the season.
*Tyler Seguin scored his 35th goal of the season.
*The Stars are now 13-15-2 vs. the Eastern Conference.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole – Dustin Jeffrey – Alex Chiasson
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Patrik Nemeth – Sergei Gonchar
Injured: Ray Whitney (lower body), Aaron Rome (lower body) Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat)
Scratched: Kevin Connauton
This story was not subject to the 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.