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Stars squander 3-1 lead, lose 7-3 to Boston

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars were hoping to bounce back from Thursday’s ugly 6-3 loss in Arizona at American Airlines Center Saturday night. They didn’t. Instead, they suffered another ugly loss. This time, it was a 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

“We should take a look at those scores and remember how it makes us feel,” said Stars forward Patrick Sharp. “It’s not a representation of how our team can play or how we should be playing, but nonetheless it’s happened.”

The seven goals against matched a season-high for the Stars, who have allowed 13 goals and 84 shots on goal (42 in each game) over the past two games.

“We’ve got to defend with a little more passion. It starts with our forwards coming back,” said Stars forward Tyler Seguin. “It starts with details in the game. When you’re passionate, you’re going to be very sharp, and you’re going to be focused on the details of the game. It’s got to start on your own end. We just need to get back to playing as a team.”

The Stars led 3-1 after one period, but after that, it was all Boston. The Bruins outscored the Stars 6-0 over the final 40 minutes.

“We started turning pucks over in the neutral zone and turned pucks over inside the blue line which gave them some momentum,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Boston’s power play, which came into the game 1-32 since the All-Star break, scored three times on six chances.

“When you give six [power plays] to a team like that, it’s a trap, and they will make you pay,” said Stars forward Antoine Roussel.

Roussel had one goal, one assist and one fight for the Stars. Ales Hemsky and Sharp scored as well. Kari Lehtonen got the start in goal and stopped 35 of 41 shots. The loss was the third straight (0-2-1) for the Stars, who are 37-17-6 on the season.

The Bruins 32-21-6 completed a six-game road trip with a 4-2-0 record. Brad Marchand registered two goals and one assist for Boston, which matched its season-high in goals scored and got three goals from a struggling power play.

“It’s huge,” Marchand said of the power play. “I think in the last little while we were getting opportunities but the puck wasn’t going in, and we knew it was only a matter of time, so it was big for the team that the power play was able to come up big tonight and help us get this win.”

The Stars took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission after an interesting period that featured three video reviews, including one initiated by a coach’s challenge.

Hemsky put the Stars up 1-0 at 11:59 of the first, taking a drop pass from Jason Demers and scoring from the left circle off the rush. Boston answered at the 13:24 mark with a goal by Marchand, who made a nice move to take the puck from in his feet and score off a close-range backhand shot.

Roussel scored at the 15:44 mark, deflecting in a Johnny Oduya shot to put the Stars up 2-1. First, the play was reviewed to see if Roussel knocked it in with a high stick. The ruling was he didn’t, so the goal counted. Then, Boston challenged it, saying Roussel interfered with Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. The play was reviewed again, and officials ruled there was no interference.

The Stars took a 3-1 lead when Patrick Sharp broke in on net and Rask stopped his initial shot, but the rebound bounced off Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid's skate and was heading towards the goal line when McQuaid knocked the net off its moorings. The play was reviewed and a goal awarded under Rule 63.6, which says: "In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, prior to the puck crossing the normal positions of the goal posts, the referee may award a goal.”

“I think it was good that we had the intermission there to kind of regroup,” said Rask. “We battled back and got the goals quickly there to tie it and never looked back.”

The Bruins scored three times in the second to take a 4-3 lead. Marchand scored on a shot from just beyond the top of the left circle with one second left on a Boston power play at the 13:24 mark to cut the Dallas lead to 3-2. Kevan Miller scored 35 seconds later, putting a shot on net from the right point that bounced in front of the net and then past Lehtonen.

Lehtonen made big stops on Matt Beleskey and Loui Eriksson to keep it a 3-3 game, but Eriksson scored off a centering pass from David Krejci with 51.6 seconds left in the period to put Boston up 4-3. The referee initially waved off the goal because he apparently lost sight of the puck, but the goal went to video review and was determined to be a good goal because it was a continuous play that was unaffected by a whistle.

The Bruins extended the lead to 5-3 with their second power-play goal of the night at 4:50 of the third period. Krejci’s shot from the high slot deflected off traffic and into the net. The Stars pulled Lehtonen with a little more than three minutes left for an extra attacker, but Brett Connolly scored into the empty net to make it 6-3 at the 17:16 mark. Boston got a late power play, and Matt Beleskey scored with 22.1 seconds remaining to make it a 7-3 final.

*Boston outshot the Stars 42-29 and had a 75-57 advantage in shot attempts.

*Ales Hemsky led the Stars with five shots on goal. Jamie Benn was tops on Dallas with ten shot attempts.

*Patrick Sharp’s goal was his first in 19 games.

*Ales Hemsky has scored three goals in the past four games.

*The Stars were 0-1 on the power play and 3-6 on the penalty kill.

*Three power play goals against were the most the Stars have allowed this season.

*The Stars won 49 of 88 faceoffs (56 percent).

*Jason Spezza won 15 of 21 faceoffs (71 percent). Tyler Seguin won 8 of 13 (62 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 9 of 16 (56 percent). Cody Eakin won 11 of 22 (50 percent). Jamie Benn won 4 of 10 (40 percent).

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 24:22 of ice time.

*Saturday’s attendance was 18,532, a sellout. It was the 12th straight sellout for the Stars and their 19th of the season.

The Stars head back out on the road to play at Winnipeg Tuesday and then return home for a three-game homestand beginning with a game against Winnipeg on Thursday. The Stars also play the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings on the homestand.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Antoine RousselCody EakinPatrick Sharp

Valeri NichushkinVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Patrik NemethJordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Travis Moen (lower body)

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak, Radek Faksa

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 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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