The Tampa Bay Lighting came back from a five-day break Saturday night, but failed to get off to the re-start it wanted.
The Lightning let two leads slip away, and it turned into a 4-3 overtime win for the Dallas Stars Saturday night. Tampa Bay had leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the game but couldn’t hold off the Stars, especially Antone Roussel, a grinder who had his first career hat trick.
Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman had two goals and an assist in the loss.
The Bolts took a 2-0 lead, but still struggled in the opening period, which ended 2-2 after Roussel’s first two goals.
“I’m going to sit here and not dwell on whether we should have won that game,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “I think if people were watching the game, they know what happened. We’ve pointed in five straight. At some point here, we’ve got to start being two instead of just one, but I can’t sit here and say the guys didn’t leave it all out there. You look at all these teams that are coming out of the break and not winning, and I thought we gave ourselves every chance to win the game. And, unfortunately, we didn’t.”
The Lightning played better in the last two periods and ended up outshooting the Stars 37-28. They had four shots in overtime, including one by Alex Killorn which was stopped on a nice save by Kari Lehtonen. Jamie Benn, with 1:13 left to play in the extra period, scored the goal.
“We had our chances,” Cooper said. “And we couldn’t put it behind their guy. When they got their chances, they scored. That’s how it went.”
“The first period, I think the game was a little bit fast, and, ultimately when you take five days off — and I’m sure it’s the same for all the teams — the other team’s buzzing around, they’re in game mode, and we were probably a little bit in vacation mode. But give them a lot of credit, second, third period, we had 30 shots from the second period on. You get the lead, you’ve got to hold onto it and, unfortunately, a pretty tough turnover there. It’s a game of inches, we couldn’t get it out and they end up capitalizing. In the end, we just did everything we could in overtime, and they got the one chance. It’s obviously got to be on one of the best players in the league’s stick, and he knows what to do with it and he scores. But, you know what, can’t go back now, just got to look ahead. Now it’s Colorado, and that’s where our focus is.”