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Stars Fall to Lightning in Preseason Finale

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars wrapped up the preseason with a loss, falling 5-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. Coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t reading much into the game.

“To me this doesn’t mean anything. I told them this was going to be a tough stretch (four games in five days),” Ruff said. “I was impressed that a lot of guys wanted to play three in four. The guys that didn’t play yesterday had as hard a workout or even harder than the guys that did play. Four games in five nights – and some played three in four – you don’t want to make excuses, but it was across the board that the energy level wasn’t there. That’s OK. When the energy level isn’t there, you’ve got to make good decisions, and we made some poor ones. … Now it’s move on and get ready for the regular season.”

The Stars ended the preseason with a 4-2-0 record and will now turn their focus to the first regular season game, which is October 9 vs. Chicago at American Airlines Center.

“We had a pretty good preseason as a group in here. We did some good things, and we did some bad things,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We’ve got nine days to work on some things. We’ve got to get better in the D zone. We’ve got to find a way as forwards to put more shots on the net. But we’ve got time to ramp it up a notch here as we’re getting ready for a big first game.”

Benn scored the lone goal for the Stars Thursday night. Anders Lindback got the start in goal, went the distance and stopped 28 shots.

Tampa Bay struck just 37 seconds into the game when Richard Panik knocked home the rebound of a Jonathan Marchessault shot.

The Lightning made it a 2-0 game at 7:39 of the second period with a shorthanded goal. Lindback came out of the net to play the puck and had his pass picked off by J.T. Brown, who scored into a wide-open net. Nikita Kucherov scored on the power play, tallying from the bottom of the right circle at the 14:05 mark to make it a 3-0 game. Benn answered 45 seconds later, knocking home the rebound a Valeri Nichushkin shot to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-1.

But the Lightning extended the lead to 4-1 early in the third period when Cedric Paquette backhanded a rebound past Lindback at the 2:30 mark. Brett Connolly scored off the rush to make it a 5-1 game 7:04 into the third.

Lindback’s puck handling

Stars coach Lindy Ruff praised goaltender Anders Lindback’s puck handling ability after Tuesday morning’s skate in Frisco. Tuesday night, Lindback coughed up the puck, and it led to a Tampa Bay goal. With the Stars on the power play, Lindback came way out of the net to play the puck but his pass was picked off by T.J. Brown, who scored into an open net.

“He’s known as a puck handling goalie, and he makes some great plays,” said Ruff. “He had a few of those plays last year. I’d like to clean up those plays, especially on special teams. He didn’t have to risk that or gamble on that situation. But any goaltender that plays the puck as much as he does is going to have one or two of those during the year.”

Notes

*Tampa Bay outshot the Stars 33-22.

*The Stars were 0-5 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 25 of 59 faceoffs (42 percent).

*Jason Spezza won 6 of 10 faceoffs (60 percent). Tyler Seguin won 6 of 11 (55 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 6 of 18 (33 percent). Travis Morin won 4 of 13 (31 percent).

*Trevor Daley led the Stars with 23:08 of ice time.

*Stars coach Lindy Ruff said goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who suffered a concussion in Monday’s game vs. Florida, was doing “pretty good” Tuesday morning. Lehtonen is expected to be out a couple days.

*Defenseman Jordie Benn was hit with a puck in Monday’s game and will need to “rest a little bit,” according to Ruff.

*The Stars assigned six players to the Texas Stars of the AHL Tuesday: C Justin Dowling, C Radek Faksa, D Julius Honka, D John Klingberg, LW Curtis McKenzie, and LW Brendan Ranford.

Coming up

*The Stars will have Wednesday off. They are scheduled to practice Thursday in Frisco.

*The Stars travel later this week to Cedar Park, where they will practice Friday and then hold an intra-squad scrimmage at Cedar Park Center Saturday afternoon.

*The Stars open the regular season Thursday October 9 versus the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center.

Stars lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour
Patrick EavesTravis MorinBrett Ritchie

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Patrik NemethJamie Oleksiak
Jyrki JokipakkaSergei Gonchar

Anders Lindback
Jussi Rynnas

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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