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Stars Can't Hold Lead, Fall to Blues in OT

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars played well against the stingy St. Louis Blues Tuesday night, but mistakes proved costly in a 4-3 overtime loss at American Airlines Center.

The Stars twice gave up game-tying goals a little more than 30 seconds after taking the lead in the game. They grabbed the lead again early in the third period but couldn’t hold it and ended up in overtime, where the Blues won it on a power play goal by Vladimir Tarasenko.

“We’re this close to completing the deal,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff, pinching his finger and thumb together. “It was pedal to the metal for 50 minutes. But we ended up making a couple mistakes, and we beat ourselves again, which hurts.”

Tuesday’s game was the third time in four home games that the Stars have had a third period lead and squandered it. The results have been a shootout loss to Chicago and overtime losses to Philadelphia and St. Louis.

“Enough is enough in here,” said Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. “I think we’ve had three of them at home where we’ve had leads in the third period. In order to be a good team, an elite team like the team we just played, you’ve got find ways to get the job done. Maybe the penalty at the end was a tough one, but I don’t think we should have even been in that situation to start.”

Daley and Tyler Seguin had one goal and one assist each. Jamie Oleksiak also tallied for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 23 of 27 shots, and he wasn’t happy with his performance.

“I thought we played a really good game. Four goals from those shots, that was too many,” Lehtonen said. “I feel like I could have stopped one or two of those. That kind of kept them in it.”

“He made some good saves,” said Ruff. “I like it when guys are hard on themselves. I like it when they expect to make every save. That’s the way it should be. Expect to give up nothing. That’s a great attitude to have. Could we have done something better? You’re darn right. His teammates could have done something better, too. I think when you look at yourself first, then you can go look at somebody afterwards.”

Vladimir Tarasenko scored three goals – including the game-winner at 1:28 of overtime - and assisted on another for the Blues, who won their second straight game and improved to 4-3-1 on the season.

“We just trust in our team, and we trust every guy on our team,” Tarasenko said. “We don’t worry about being down by one goal. We were sure we could get it back and just played for each other.”

The Stars scored first, taking a 1-0 lead when Seguin and Jamie Benn set up Oleksiak, who scored off a shot from the right point at 13:10 of the first. It was Oleksiak’s first NHL goal.

“I’m glad to get that first one out of the way,” Oleksiak said. “I think it was a good pass by [Seguin] and a good setup by Jamie, it was a good goal.”

But just 35 seconds later, Tarasenko tallied on a shot from the slot to tie the game 1-1.

“Giveaway on the rush,” Ruff said. “We just scored. Keep it north-south, get it deep, take it to the net and make it hard on them. We made it easy on them.”

The Stars took the lead at 5:28 of the second when Seguin scored off a shot from the right circle, but once again the Blues answered quickly. Jori Lehtera scored on a backhand shot 37 seconds later to make it a 2-2 game.

“That’s even more of a shot to the leg,” said Daley. “Let’s do the right things and make the right plays.”

The Stars took the lead by cashing in on their fourth power play of the night. After St. Louis missed on a chance to clear the zone, Daley scored from the left circle to put the Stars up 3-2 at the 3:27 mark of the third. The Blues tied it at the 11:37 mark when Tarasenko scored off the rush, and it was a 3-3 game.

In overtime, Seguin was called for high sticking on the opening faceoff and the Blues cashed in when Tarasenko scored off a blast from the right circle at the 1:28 mark.

Notes

*The Stars are now 1-3 in games that have been settled beyond regulation. They are 0-2 in four-on-four overtime and 1-1 in shootouts.

* The Stars outshot the Blues 28-27.

*The 28 shots against were the most allowed by the Blues this season.

*Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn led the Stars with six shots each.

*Alexander Steen led the Blues with seven shots on goal.

*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 33 of 63 faceoffs (52 percent).

*Vernon Fiddler won 9 of 14 draws (64 percent). Jason Spezza won 6 of 11 (55 percent). Cody Eakin won 8 of 16 (50 percent).

*Seguin’s second period goal was the 100th of his career.

*Jamie Oleksiak’s first period goal was the first of his NHL career.

*Attendance Tuesday was 16,232.

Stars lineup

Jamie BennJason SpezzaTyler Seguin
Patrick EavesVernon Fiddler – Ales Hemsky
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Erik ColeShawn HorcoffColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Kevin ConnautonJamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen
Anders Lindback

Scratched: D Jyrki Jokipakka, LW Curtis McKenzie

Injured: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip), D Sergei Gonchar (ankle), D Patrik Nemeth (arm laceration)

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.

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