The Dallas Stars have struggled to score goals on the road this season, and the trend continued Thursday night in Boston as they were shut out, 2-0, by the Bruins at TD Garden.
The Stars have scored just six goals in their past five road games and only 27 in their past 16 (1.69 per game). For the season, the Stars are averaging 2.23 goals per game on the road where they are 11-23-5.
"We've had some bad luck scoring, we haven't scored enough, so I think that's the biggest issue," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of the team's road woes. You know, we scored one in Montreal, we scored one in New Jersey in regulation, and we didn't score tonight, so I think at the end of the night, you know, it comes down to a little bit of the offense."
The loss was the second straight for the Stars who fell to 1-2-0 on their current road trip and 31-35-11 on the season. Antti Niemi made his first start since March 14 and stopped 22 of 24 shots.
"I was excited to get in the game; it's been a while," Niemi said. "Even giving up a couple goals, I had fun playing today."
The Stars lost a couple of forwards in the game. Curtis McKenzie took a high stick to the face from Boston defenseman Kevan Miller in the third period. McKenzie, who was bleeding badly, was helped off the ice and then taken to a Boston area hospital to have a cut around his eye closed.
"I don't know whether it's good or not, but it looks like his eye is okay," Ruff said. "But he's got a pretty serious cut that's going to have to get closed up, and there may be some muscle injury up there."
McKenzie will not travel with the team to Carolina, according to the team's PR staff.
Forward Ales Hemsky did not play most of the third period as he battles through an injury issue. Hemsky returned to lineup earlier this month after missing most of the season due to hip surgery.
"Hemsky has just been laboring," Ruff said. "It's something he's been fighting through for a couple months, too, now."
Tuukka Rask stopped 27 shots for his seventh shutout of the season for Boston. The Bruins (41-30-6) have won three straight games and maintained their three-point lead over Tampa Bay for the second wild-card spot in the East. They remained one point behind Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.
"We didn't play a great game. We got the two points, which is huge right now," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "Tuukka played a great game. You have to give him a lot of credit. And D had a lot of big blocks. So, we have to clean it up for next game, but we do have to be happy with the two points."
The Bruins scored the only goal of the first period. After David Backes stole the puck from Stars defenseman Stephen Johns in the neutral zone, he put a shot on net and Brad Marchand scored on the rebound at the 15:14 mark.
The Bruins extended their lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal early in the second period. Defenseman Torey Krug got behind Johns at the Dallas net and tapped in a slick centering pass from David Pastrnak at the 1:18 mark.
The Stars had a good chance to get back in the game when they went on a four-minute power play with 8:52 left in the third after McKenzie took the high stick from Miller, but couldn't cut into the Boston lead and the Bruins maintained their 2-0 lead the rest of the way.
*The Stars have scored two goals or fewer in 13 of their past 16 road games.
*The Stars were shut out for the sixth time this season.
*The Stars outshot the Bruins 27-24 and had a 58-51 advantage in shot attempts.
*Tyler Seguin led the Stars with four shots on goal and seven shot attempts.
*The Stars were 0-3 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars have failed to score on the power play in nine of their past eleven games.
*Dallas won 29 of 59 faceoffs (49 percent). Cody Eakin won 12 of 19 faceoffs (63 percent) for the Stars.
*John Klingberg led the Stars with 25:56 of ice time.
The Stars wrap up the road trip with back-to-back games this weekend, playing at Carolina Saturday and then Tampa Bay Sunday. The two games will wrap up the Stars' road schedule for the season.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Jason Spezza
Remi Elie - Devin Shore - Tyler Seguin
Jason Dickinson - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky
Curtis McKenzie - Adam Cracknell - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Julius Honka
Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Greg Pateryn
Injured: Patrick Sharp (hip), Jiri Hudler (lower body), Antoine Roussel (hand), 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.