The Dallas Stars and New York Islanders were expected to play a fast paced, high scoring game Saturday night and they delivered. But the result didn’t go the way of the Stars, who lost in regulation for only the second time this season, falling 7-5 to the Islanders.
The Stars, playing on the second night of a back-to-back, overcame a 3-1 deficit and took a 4-3 lead in the game, but couldn’t hold it. A couple of mistakes in the third proved costly against the Islanders, who scored twice on odd-man rushes.
“I thought we had a pretty good second period and came back, but we had a few breakdowns in the third and it cost us the game,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn.
It was a rough night for Stars backup goaltender Anders Lindback, who allowed six goals on 28 shots in his second start of the season.
“I have to be better than that. That’s about it. I have to make some stops,” Lindback said. “You can break it down, but I have to make the stops that keep us in the lead or keep us in it. It didn’t work out tonight.”
Lindback is 0-2-0 with a 4.58 goals against average and .850 save percentage in his first two starts of the season.
“I thought he had a tough night,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We gave up some pretty good opportunities, but at the same time we’ve got to get some saves. That’s part of his role and it’s not easy going in. We needed a few tonight.”
Vernon Fiddler, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Antoine Roussel and Shawn Horcoff scored goals for the Stars, who had a five-game points streak and three-game road winning streak come to an end. The Stars are now 4-2-2 on the season.
“Tonight, the four lines played as good as I thought they could play,” said Ruff. “Defending-wise, we might have given up a few less chances than last night. We had the puck a lot. We created more than enough to win a game, but we didn’t win it.”
Frans Nielsen scored three goals – all of them in the third period – for the Islanders, who improved to 6-2-0 on the season.
“I thought we did some good things in the game,” said Islanders coach Jack Capuano. “It was one of those games for both sides where the puck was finding the back of the net. I like the way our penalty kill did the job when they had to. I liked the emotion on the bench. We were up by a couple, they got one back right away but we stayed with it and did a lot of good things.”
The Islanders struck 5:11 into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Anders Lee redirected a Thomas Hickey point shot past Lindback. The Stars answered at the 13:25 mark when Patrick Eaves put a shot on net from the left circle off the rush and Fiddler scored on the rebound to make it a 1-1 game. The Stars had back-to-back power plays late in the period. They failed to score on the first one. On the second one, the Stars turned the puck over at their own blue line and Nikolay Kulemin took advantage, breaking in on goal and beating Lindback with a wrist shot with 1:18 left in the period.
“We can’t be giving up a shorthanded goal,” said Benn. “We have to execute better on the power play. We can’t be giving them those chances for free.”
The Islanders extended their lead to 3-1 at 1:25 of the second when Brock Nelson banged home the rebound of a Ryan Strome shot. But the Stars rattled off three straight goals to take a 4-3 lead. Seguin scored at the 5:25 mark, taking a drop pass from Spezza and scoring from the right circle off the rush to cut the lead to 3-2. Spezza scored off a blast from the right circle with the Stars on the power play to make it a 3-3 game just 1:25 later. The Stars took the lead at the 15:50 mark when Roussel put home the rebound of an Alex Goligoski shot from the left point. But 30 seconds later the Islanders tied the game when Lubomir Visnovsky beat Lindback with a blast off the rush.
It was the Nielsen show in the third. He scored on two odd-man rushes to give the Islanders a 6-4 lead. He put New York up for good 9:39 into the period. Just after Seguin hit a post, Jamie Oleksiak got caught pinching along the boards in the Dallas zone leading to a two-on-one that Nielsen finished with a wrist shot on Lindback. He scored on another two-on-one at the 15:09 mark to make it a 6-4 game. Horcoff scored 23 seconds later to make it a 6-5 game, but Nielsen scored into an empty net to make it a 7-5 final.
*The Stars outshot the Islanders 31-29.
*Antoine Roussel led the Stars with six shots on goal.
*Frans Nielsen had six shots on goal for the Islanders.
*The Stars were 1-5 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 28 of 64 faceoffs (44 percent).
*Jason Spezza won 9 of 18 draws (50 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 6 of 13 (46 percent). Shawn Horcoff won 5 of 12 (42 percent). Cody Eakin won 4 of 12 (33 percent).
*Tyler Seguin had one goal and one assist running his points streak to six games (6 goals, 7 assists).
*Jamie Benn picked up an assist, running his points streak to six games (5 goals, 5 assists).
*Spezza had one goal and one assist, running his points streak to five games (2 goals, 8 assists).
*Trevor Daley led the Stars with 24:24 of ice time.
Jamie Benn – Jason Spezza – Tyler Seguin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Patrick Eaves – Vernon Fiddler – Ales Hemsky
Erik Cole – Shawn Horcoff – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jamie Oleksiak
Scratched: D Kevin Connauton, 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.