Stars coach Lindy Ruff mentioned Thursday morning how his team has found ways to lose games this season. Thursday night in Ottawa, they found another way, scoring an own goal into an empty net in a 3-2 loss to the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.
"We've picked almost every way of losing so far, including shooting one in your own net," Ruff said. "It is frustrating."
The Stars played well in the first period but found themselves down 2-0 after allowing a shorthanded goal and scoring into an empty net during a delayed penalty call on Ottawa. They battled back to tie the game on goals by Antoine Roussel and Jamie Benn in the second period. But the Senators got the only goal of the third when Mark Stone scored on a wrap-around off a broken play and that proved to be the game-winner.
"We started with a two-goal deficit, unlucky play," said Roussel. "I think we showed a lot of character coming back in the game and they had a better bounce."
Special teams didn't help the Stars. Along with giving up the shorthanded goal, the Stars were 0-6 on the power play Thursday night.
"A lot of times it's been that lack of ability to execute," Ruff said. "The opportunities have been there."
The loss was the fourth straight - all of them in regulation - for the Stars, who fell to 21-24-10 on the season and dropped to eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Senators, who had been shut out in their two previous games, improved to 28-18-6 on the season.
"Huge win," said Stone. "Maybe not our best game all year but we were able to find a way. That's what good teams do, limit the losing streak to two and now try to string some wins together."
The Stars had the territorial edge in the first period, but they head into the first intermission down 2-0 after the Senators scored shorthanded and the Stars put the puck into their own empty net on a delayed penalty.
On their second power play of the game, the Stars gave up three shorthanded shots on goal and then after a quick whistle, Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf scored off the ensuing faceoff to put Ottawa up 1-0 at 14:41 of the first.
As the Stars were about to go on their third power play of the game - with Lehtonen out of the net for an extra attacker during the delayed penalty call - Jiri Hudler's drop pass split two teammates and went into the empty net to make it a 2-0 game at the 17:55 mark.
"I don't remember putting one in like this. It sucks," Hudler said. "I wasn't trying to do it. It was just a mistake. It was unfortunate."
The Stars bounced back in the second period, scoring twice at even-strength to tie the game. After taking a slick backhand pass from defenseman Jordie Benn, Radek Faksa set up Roussel, who scored from close range to make it a 2-1 game at the 11:28 mark. Jamie Benn tied the game 2-2 at 16:09 of the second, scoring off a blast from the point.
Lehtonen was sharp in the second, stopping all 14 shots he faced including a Phaneuf blast from the slot with the Senators on a power play late in the period.
Ottawa scored the only goal of the third. Cody Ceci's shot from the point hit the side of the net and went to Stone, who scored on a wrap-around to put the Senators up 3-2 at 6:03 of the third. And the score stayed that way until the final horn.
"We came back and tied it up, so all we had to do was win 20 minutes of hockey, and all that other stuff is a non-factor," said Jamie Benn. "We're right there. We just need to get a little more from everybody."
Stars' Sumner hits 2,000 game milestone
Stars head equipment manager Steve Sumner hit a milestone Thursday night, working his 2,000th career professional game. Sumner, who began his career with the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL in 1989, has also worked with the Fort Worth Fire (CHL), Dallas Freeze (CHL), St. Louis Blues (NHL), Houston Aeros (IHL) and Dallas Stars since 2001.
*The Stars are 5-10-4 against the Eastern Conference this season.
*The Stars outshot the Senators 33-26 and had a 64-50 advantage in shot attempts.
*Tyler Seguin led the Stars with 8 shots on goal and 10 shot attempts.
*The Stars were 0-6 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
*Dallas won 27 of 67 faceoffs (40 percent).
*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 24 of 26 shots.
*John Klingberg led both teams in ice time with 27:41.
*Stars captain Jamie Benn and Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf picked up fighting majors in the first period.
The Stars return home to take on the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday afternoon before heading back out on the road for three more games. It will be the first meeting of the season between the Stars and Hurricanes. Game time is 1:00 p.m.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Tyler Seguin
Patrick Sharp - Devin Shore - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Brett Ritchie
Lauri Korpikoski - Adam Cracknell - Jiri Hudler
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth - Stephen Johns
Scratched: Julius Honka, Curtis McKenzie
Injured: Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Jason Spezza (upper body), Johnny Oduya (ankle), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee)
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