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Stars fall to Oilers, 5-2

Edmonton scores first four goals, Stars can't overcome deficit

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars fell behind early to the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night and could never recover, falling 5-2 at American Airlines Center.

The Oilers led 2-0 after the first period and extended their lead to 4-0 a little more than six minutes into the second period.

"It's tough when you spot the team four goals," Stars captain Jamie Benn said. "There were a couple bad bounces, but it is what it is. They got a 4-0 lead, and that is tough to come back from."

Two of Edmonton's first three goals went in off Dallas defensemen. Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen didn't get much help and was pulled in the six minutes into the second period after stopping nine of 13 shots. Antti Niemi finished the game and stopped 15 of 16 shots.

"You look at the game, we shot one in our net, one hit a skate and went in our net, so puck luck wasn't in our game. One of our defensemen knocked our goalie over so there's three goals," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "The goalie (Lehtonen) coming out of the game had nothing to do with the game other than to get Antti some playing time."

Patrick Eaves and Jamie Benn scored goals for the Stars who had a five-game points streak snapped and fell to 7-7-5 on the season.

"It's frustrating, but we don't deserve to win right now," said Stars defenseman John Klingberg. "We don't play good, and it feels like a different thing every game."

Connor McDavid recorded his first NHL hat trick, and Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots for the Oilers, who snapped a five-game losing streak and improved to 10-8-1 on the season.

"The start was important for us to get our legs underneath us," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "Obviously, we weren't an overly confident team coming in, but Connor, captain, leader played a hell of a game."

McDavid opened the scoring 2:57 into the game, putting the puck towards the net and having it go into the net off the stick of Klingberg. That ended a ten-game goal scoring slump for McDavid.

"We haven't scored the first goal in a long time," McDavid said. "To play with the lead as opposed to coming from behind it's a lot easier. It's definitely good for our group to get that one."

The Stars had a couple of chances to tie but misfired on a power play, and Eaves hit the post on a tip-in attempt off the rush. The Oilers made it a 2-0 game at the 11:36 mark, cashing in on a two-on-one rush. Drake Caggiula, who was making his NHL debut, set up Tyler Pitlick, who scored from the bottom of the left circle. The Stars had another power play chance but couldn't cut into the lead.

The Oilers scored twice in 56 seconds in the second period to extend their lead to 4-0. Oscar Klefbom put a shot towards the net from the left point, and the puck went in the net off the skate of Stars defenseman Patrik Nemeth at the 5:21 mark. McDavid then scored his second of the night, tallying off the rebound of a Matthew Benning shot at 6:17 mark. Niemi took over in net for the Stars after the McDavid goal.

And the Stars climbed back into the game. The Stars went on a 4:00 power play with 4:23 remaining in the period when Edmonton's Zack Kassian took a hooking penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct minor. The Stars scored on both ends of the double minor to cut the lead to 4-2. Eaves scored on the first one, tallying off a wrist shot from the left circle to make it 4-1 at the 15:37 mark. Benn scored on the second end of the double minor, tipping in a Klingberg shot to cut the Edmonton lead to 4-2 at 16:47 of the second.

Tyler Seguin had a good chance to cut the lead to one early in the third, but his close-range bid was turned away by Talbot. McDavid made it 5-2 with his third of the night, grabbing the rebound of a Jesse Puljujarvi shot and scoring from the left circle at 6:51 of the third. 

Sharp returns

Stars forward Patrick Sharp returned to the lineup after missing 14 games due to a concussion. Sharp started the game on a line with Antoine Roussel and Radek Faksa. He logged 18:36 of ice time, registered two shots on goal, four hits and won three of four faceoffs.

"I thought that there were times he really skated well. I just think it's going to be a little bit of time," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Notes

*The Stars are 0-6-3 when allowing the first goal of the game.

*The Stars outshot the Oilers 33-29 and had a 62-61 edge in shot attempts.

*Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza co-led the Stars with 6 shots on goal. Benn was tops with 9 shot attempts.

*Patrick Sharp and Radek Faksa were the only two Dallas skaters who did not have a minus rating in the game.

*Patrick Eaves' goal extended his goal scoring streak to 5 games. He has six goals during that stretch and leads the Stars with 9 goals this season.

*The Stars were 2-6 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 28 of 57 faceoffs (49 percent).

*Jason Spezza won 6 of 7 faceoffs (86 percent). Radek Faksa won 5 of 9 (56 percent). Adam Cracknell won 4 of 10 (40 percent). Tyler Seguin won 5 of 14 (36 percent).

*John Klingberg led the Stars with 24:29 of ice time.

What's Next

The Stars wrap up their four-game homestand with a game against Minnesota on Monday. This will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The Wild defeated the Stars, 4-0, in Minnesota on Oct. 29.

Stars Lineup

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

Johnny Oduya - John Klingberg
Patrick Nemeth - Stephen Johns
Dan Hamhuis - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Curtis McKenzie
Injured: Jiri Hudler (illness), 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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