Stars Rally for Point, but Fall in OT to Devils

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 12:03 AM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Rally for Point, but Fall in OT to Devils

It wasn’t pretty for the Dallas Stars Thursday night, but they were able to pull a point out of it. Despite a sluggish start to the game, the Stars rallied from a 2-0 deficit against the stingy New Jersey Devils before falling, 3-2, in overtime at American Airlines Center.

“We were awful,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We came out flat. We could have dictated play on the power play in the first. We were awful. We lost one-on-one battles. We got outskated. You don’t win many games playing like that. … The point is good, but you don’t like the way you played.”

The Stars were held to a season-low 16 shots on goal, including just four in the first period, by the Devils, who allow the fewest shots per game in the league.

Still, the Stars salvaged a point, tying the game with 51.5 seconds left when Tyler Seguin scored with goaltender Kari Lehtonen pulled for an extra attacker. But Stars captain Jamie Benn took a tripping penalty 28 seconds into overtime and New Jersey’s Patrik Elias, who drew the penalty, scored off the rebound of a Jaromir Jagr shot 12 seconds later to give the Devils the extra point.

New Jersey was 2-3 on the power play, while the Stars went 0-3 on the power play and missed on a lengthy five-on-three advantage early in the game.

“We had the opportunity to create some momentum and take the lead with our special teams, but our special teams let us down,” said Ruff.

The Stars, who ended their five-game homestand with a 3-1-1 record, moved to within six points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“We need all the points we can get. There’s not dancing around this one. We have to pick up points,” said Ruff. “The point is good, but we need more than that. I think, as a team, it was unacceptable the way we came out.”

“It was a bit of a rollercoaster for a homestand. We had some good moments and some tough moments,” said Seguin. “It’s about finding consistency as a group right now. The halfway hump is pretty much over and now it’s time for the push. We’ve got to string some together before Olympic break.”

The Devils, who snapped a two-game losing streak, pulled to within one point of third place in the Metropolitan Division and within one point of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“I thought we played about as good a road game as we could play,” said Devils coach Peter DeBoer. “The game plan held them to 12 or 14 shots or whatever it ended up being. A little unlucky there at the end. We persevered and it was a big two points. Both teams were playing for keeps. We’re both in pretty desperate situations, so there was a lot of contact and lot of battles. I thought we really showed up well.”

The Stars got off to a sluggish start, but had a chance to turn things around when they had a 1:15 five-on-three power play five minutes into the game. But they couldn’t do anything with it, registering no shots on goal during the two-man advantage.

“I’m embarrassed,” Seguin said of the Stars’ performance on the power play. “It’s unacceptable. It’s on me as well. We had an opportunity to get things rolling five-on-three, and we didn’t generate anything. We gave them momentum.”

New Jersey scored midway through the first period to take the early lead. Jagr set up Dainius Zubrus, who scored from the right circle off the rush at the 10:58 mark.

The Devils extended the lead to 2-0 with a power play goal midway through the second period when Travis Zajac deflected a Damian Brunner shot past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen at the 9:50 mark.

Benn answered a little more than a minute later, scoring off a close range backhand shot at the 10:52 mark to cut New Jersey’s lead to 2-1, setting the stage for the Stars to tie the game late and force overtime, where New Jersey would win it.

“We did a good job to battle back. That’s not an easy team to play against,” said Stars center Cody Eakin. “They like to trap it up when they are up and they don’t give up many opportunities. We battled for that one point, but we need to be searching for two at this time.”

The Stars now hit the road, where they play at Anaheim, Phoenix and San Jose.

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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 53 21 20 12 123 143 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 54 28 33 16 61
T. Seguin 54 28 30 11 58
J. Klingberg 54 9 35 15 44
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 54 16 24 -1 40
A. Goligoski 54 4 20 17 24
C. Eakin 54 10 13 1 23
M. Janmark 54 10 10 13 20
J. Demers 48 7 12 16 19
V. Nichushkin 51 6 13 7 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 14 5 0 .909 2.82
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