The Dallas Stars headed into their bye week on a positive, rallying for a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at American Airlines Center Saturday night.
Antoine Roussel scored all three Dallas goals in regulation, and Jamie Benn scored with 1:13 remaining in overtime for the Stars, who overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the game and won for the first time in 23 tries when trailing after two periods this season (1-20-2).
"Nice. Nice," said Stars forward Tyler Seguin, who set up all three Roussel goals. "Especially being down going into the third, something that's been held over our heads for a while. It was obviously nice to pull it off."
"It's good to get a win," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "Obviously, coming from behind and being down a couple, I thought we battled hard to get the two points. We got some big saves in the third (from Kari Lehtonen, who made 34 saves) and a couple big ones in overtime. We got our chance and put one away."
The Stars fell behind 2-0 in the first period but bounced back to tie the game on pair of goals by Roussel before the period ended. After the Lightning scored in the second to take a 3-2 lead, Roussel struck again to tie the game early in the third. Roussel's hat trick was the first of his NHL career and the first by a Dallas Star this season.
"It was awesome, felt pretty good," Roussel said. "It was teamwork. [Tyler Seguin] shoots really hard and that was our main focus before the game. I told him we have to work hard and everything will come to us, and that's basically what happened."
In overtime, Benn shook off a collision with Tampa Bay's Brian Boyle, gathered up the loose puck, moved the puck up the ice, took a pass from Cody Eakin and scored from the slot.
"[Eakin] made a good play, him and [John Klingberg] joining the rush," Benn said. "I was just fortunate to find a little bit of an opening and make a good shot."
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Stars (23-27-10) and was just their second in their past nine games (2-7-0). It gave them a little lift as they headed into their five-day "bye week," which will keep them idle until they hit the ice late Thursday afternoon for a practice as they prepare to resume play Friday against Arizona.
"Every game is a new game. Every win is a step towards some hope here," said Seguin. "We've got to look forward to some days off here and get our rest and then get ready for the rest of the season."
"That's a good win for us," Roussel said. "For everybody to go on the break and have the positives coming back and have a big push for the playoffs."
The Lightning, who were coming off their bye week, extended their points streak to five games (3-0-2).
"I am not going to sit here and dwell on whether or not we should have won that game, you know what happened," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We've pointed in five straight. At some point, we have to get two instead of just one, but I can't say the guys didn't leave it all out there. You look at all of the teams coming out of the break and not winning. I thought we gave ourselves every chance to win the game."
The Lightning scored 3:07 into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Jake Dotchin put a shot on net from the point, and Victor Hedman scored off the rebound. Tampa Bay extended its lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal at the 11:59 mark when Brayden Point set up Tyler Johnson on the rush and Johnson tallied off a close-range backhand shot.
The Stars cut the lead to 2-1 just 51 seconds later. Dan Hamhuis centered the puck from the left corner, and Roussel redirected the puck out of midair past Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
"It was a heck of a tip on the first goal," Ruff said.
The Stars drew even at the 18:50 mark of the first when Seguin sent a cross-ice pass to Roussel, who put the puck in the net from close range to make it a 2-2 game heading into the first intermission.
The Stars had a great chance to take the lead at 5:32 of the second but Vasilevskiy stopped Stars forward Brett Ritchie on a clean breakaway.
The Lightning took a 3-2 lead midway through the second with their second power-play goal of the game when Hedman scored from the point at the 9:46 mark.
The Stars tied the game at 4:40 of the third on Roussel's third of the night. Seguin sent a pass from below the goal line to Roussel, who scored from the left circle to make it a 3-3 game. And then Lehtonen came up with some big saves down the stretch in the third and then in overtime, setting the stage for Benn's game-winner.
Fans, players pay tribute as Dave Strader returns to broadcast booth
Stars play-by-play man Dave Strader was back in the broadcast booth for the first time this season Saturday night. He's been out all season as he undergoes treatment for bile duct cancer. Strader received a rousing ovation from fans when he was shown on the scoreboard during a TV timeout in the first period. After the game, Stars players gathered at center ice and saluted Strader.
"Dave was around here today at this morning's skate, and it just brings a smile to all of our faces seeing him," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "It was nice to get him back and where he belongs. He brought us some luck. It was nice of our fans to give him a salute, and it was definitely nice as a group to salute him after the game."
Strader is scheduled to call the remaining four games of the Stars current homestand, which continues after the team's bye week.
Stars forward Adam Cracknell left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury after a collision with Tampa Bay forward Tyler Johnson along the boards. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Cracknell is going to be out a while.
"It looks fairly serious," Ruff said. "He's got a lower-body injury that's probably anywhere from three to six weeks."
*The Stars are 3-10 in games decided beyond regulation including 3-9 in three-on-three overtime.
*Tampa Bay outshot the Stars 37-28 and had a 79-57 advantage in attempted shots.
*Antoine Roussel led the Stars with six shots on goal and ten attempted shots.
*The Stars were 0-2 on the power play and 0-2 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 32 of 55 faceoffs (58 percent). Cody Eakin won 12 of 18 faceoffs (67 percent).
*The Stars blocked 23 shots. John Klingberg was tops with four.
*Klingberg led the Stars with 27:13 of ice time.
The Stars now enter their five-day "bye week." They return to practice Thursday at 4 p.m. in Frisco, and their next game is Friday against Arizona at American Airlines Center.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp
Devin Shore - Radek Faksa - Jason Spezza
Lauri Korpikoski - Adam Cracknell - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth - Jamie Oleksiak
Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Curtis McKenzie
Injured: Stephen Johns (illness), Johnny Oduya (ankle), Ales Hemksy (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.