One game after having their undefeated season spoiled at the hands of the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning reversed the roles and pulled the same trick on the Dallas Stars Monday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Behind a pair of power-play goals from Dominic Moore, Tampa Bay handed Dallas its first loss of the season, as the Lightning won for the fourth time in five games, earning a 5-4 victory.
“I thought tonight was one of our more complete efforts,” Moore said. “Tonight I thought we were much more on the same page.”
Steven Stamkos, who entered the contest with 8 points in his last three games at home, continued his success in front of the home crowd, recording a power-play goal and leading all scorers with three points to reach the 150 career point milestone.
Steve Downie and Sean Bergenheim also had goals for Tampa Bay, and Mike Smith made 15 saves for the Lightning, 4-1-0 through five games this season and winners of its last four consecutive home games.
“I’m all about work ethic,” Head Coach Guy Boucher said. “The message is very clear. I want guys who are relentless and that is what these guys are.”
That was clear, as Tampa Bay outshot Dallas 44-19, including 35-10 through the first two periods.
“I think that’s something we need to address,” Stars head coach Marc Crawford said. “We must keep the shots a little lower.”
Despite carrying previous success against the Lightning, Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who entered the game 11-5-3 with a .933 save percentage against Tampa Bay, did not have an answer for the Bolts.
“Once you see a team a lot, you get used to their tendencies,” Lehtonen said. “But tonight they were an honest, hard-working team. They deserved the points.”
Lehtonen finished with 39 saves.
After spotting the Stars a 1-0 edge 15:04 into the opening period when Toby Petersen scored shorthanded off a turnover, Downie evened the score on the power play when he tipped in a Martin St. Louis slap shot at 16:21 before Stamkos gave Tampa Bay its first lead of the game with the man advantage just three and a half minutes later.
Adam Burish made it 2-2 at 6:04 in the second after wristing one past Smith out in front.
“We did a lot of good things,” Crawford added. “We got a little behind in the game, but we came back.”
The even score was short lived, however, as Tampa Bay scored three unanswered goals to extend its lead to 5-2 in the third period.
Bergenheim regained the one-goal lead at 9:26 in the second after Teddy Purcell kept the play alive in the neutral zone. Purcell battled for possession and corralled the loose puck along the boards before sending a pass to Stamkos, who found his teammate with a perfect feed across the crease for the tip-in.
Moore then gave Tampa Bay a two-goal advantage with a deflection at 18:06 after creating a screen in front of Lehtonen. Defenseman Pavel Kubina was credited with an assist on the goal, recording his 350th career point.
“That second period was too much for us,” Lehtonen said. “They were all over us and working a lot harder. That cost us.”
The Stars’ Brenden Morrow restored the deficit to two just 13 seconds after Moore added his second of the night in the third period when he found Purcell’s pass in the crease and flipped it over the glove of the Dallas net minder.
James Neal added a goal for Dallas, capping the score at 19:00.
“We didn’t deserve that game,” former Lightning forward Brad Richards said. “We got behind them and we can’t afford to do that. We have to play simple, more straight-forward hockey.”
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