Garon made 27 saves, and Purcell scored twice, including the game-winner, to help snap a six-game road losing streak and lift the Lightning to a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on Friday night.
With the win, Tampa Bay recorded victories in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 29-31, when it capped a sweep of a three-game home stand. It defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins, 5-3, on Tuesday night.
“I think the key for us was getting the game off to a good start,” Garon said. “We played well in the first period, and they started to come back and get some momentum, but we battled.”
Tom Wandell had the lone goal for Dallas, which has now lost four straight. Kari Lehtonen added 20 saves.
After spotting Tampa Bay an 1-0 lead, Wandell erased the one-goal deficit at 1:22 of the third to draw the Stars even. Skating near the top of the slot, Wandell redirected his skate to absorb a pass from Loui Eriksson and slide it across the goal line for his third of the year. After video review, the goal was upheld.
Dallas recovered from a sluggish start and outshot the Lightning 23-9 in the final two periods.Garon, though, was equal to the task despite the Stars’ flurry of offense late in the game.
“We knew they were going to shoot more pucks at the end of the game,” Garon added. “But we battled and our guys did a good job of blocking a lot of shots.”
The Bolts got a scare when 4:33 into the second period, Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski knocked Steven Stamkos into Garon, catching the Tampa Bay goaltender’s right arm and sending him to the ice. After several minutes of attention from the training staff, Garon returned to the crease and the game resumed.
Several good scoring opportunities highlighted a strong start by the Lightning, but Lehtonen denied Stamkos on several chances from in close to keep the contest scoreless throughout the majority of the first. Purcell got the Lightning on the board when he took a pass from Martin St. Louis in the low slot, deked Lehtonen, and slipped one through the five hole for a 1-0 lead at 18:48.
“He was covering a large part of the net,” Lightning assistant Dan Lacroix said of Lehtonen. “I thought we did a good job getting a lot of good looks, but we needed to get the puck up and work harder to get it past him.”
With the game tied at one, Purcell carried the puck from the right circle into the slot and backhanded a shot past Lehtonen at 3:36 of the final period to make it 2-1.
For Purcell, it was his first multi-goal game of the season, and second multi-point outing in his past three games.
“I thought we did a good job generating speed in the neutral zone and moving our feet,” Purcell said. “When we do that, it gives us a chance to be successful.”
St. Louis assisted on both of Purcell’s goals, giving him 16 assists in his past 14 games since returning from injury.
The Lightning, 19-23-4, last won away from the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Dec. 17, when they earned a 3-2 victory at Columbus.
Dallas finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play and is now in a 4-for-44 slump with the man advantage.
Both teams played in the first half of a back-to-back set. Dallas visits Minnesota on Saturday, while Tampa Bay travels to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes.
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