The Dallas Stars were without an injured Brenden Dillon against the Tampa Bay Lightning this afternoon, and that spelled trouble for the Stars. Dillon is a key piece of the Stars’ defense, and losing him for even a game put the Stars at a huge disadvantage. Without Dillon, Dallas had to rely extra heavily on the likes of Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley and Jordie Benn. If there was ever an argument for the Stars to make a trade for a defenseman, today’s game would be it.
The first period was a horrific effort on the part of the Dallas. An out of position defense led to a soft goal scored by Martin St. Louis within the first few minutes of the game, and that sums up the entire first period for the Stars. Not only was the defense a mess, but the top lines were unable to find any sort of rhythm offensively.
If the first period was an example of how not to play hockey, the second period was a complete turnaround for Dallas. Trailing 2-0, the Stars battled hard, put pressure on Tampa Bay and were rewarded for their effort. The third line of Antoine Roussel, Vernon Fiddler and Ryan Garbutt was responsible for the two Stars’ goals and kept Dallas in the game. In the end, though, it wasn’t enough as the Stars fell to the Lightning 4-2.
Once again the Stars’ power play failed to produce a goal on three tries. It’s a problem that has haunted Dallas throughout the season. Some of it was bad luck, some of it was good goaltending, but the Stars absolutely need to be better with the man-advantage. Two of the power play chances came in the third period. If just one of those power plays had found the back of Tampa’s net, that could have made a huge impact on the rest of the game.
To Tampa Bay’s credit, Ben Bishop was more than solid in goal for the Lightning. The Stars managed to fire 41 shots at Bishop, who stopped 39 of those shots. On the other hand, Kari Lehtonen only faced 21 shots and didn’t look like his usual self. Simply put, Bishop was the better goaltender today and a big reason why his team won.