Final: Dallas 3, Boston 2 (SO)
Recap: After a wretched streak of slow starts, the Bruins came out firing on all cylinders, jumping out to a 15-1 edge in shots against the visiting Stars through nine minutes of action Tuesday. During that time, each team found twine.
Jamie Benn opened the scoring less than four minutes in for Dallas, but Torey Krug answered 38 seconds later when Reilly Smith hit No. 47 with a nice pass sneaking in the back door. Boston couldn't maintain their dominant start and registered just seven shots in 31-or-so minutes of hockey leading up to the third.
Boston got some momentum back when Milan Lucic put the Black and Gold ahead, 2-1, with under nine minutes left in regulation, as the winger tipped a shot from the point by Dougie Hamilton past Kari Lehtonen. But Dallas evened things up in the closing minutes, as Vernon Fiddler schooled Tuukka Rask on a penalty shot. That quickly became a familiar sight.
After a scoreless overtime, Patrice Bergeron put the B's up 1-0 in the shootout, but Tyler Seguin beat Rask high blocker and his fellow former Bruin, Rich Peverley, sent a shot through No. 40's five hole, giving the Stars the bonus point.
Records: Dallas 7-6-2, 16 points; Boston 8-5-1, 17 points
Key Play of the Game: Toss out every scoring play. This game really went south for Boston when Adam McQuaid dropped his gloves and Benn didn't follow suit midway through the first period. The B's went on the PK and it just killed their buzz. Dallas outshot them 35-21 the rest of the way.
Connolly's Commendations: After being one of the lone bright spots in Boston's loss on Long Island, Lucic once again came to play right from the get-go. No. 17's goal didn't take much effort on his part, but the bruising forward gave a consistent effort through and dished out a team-high four hits.
Speaking of hits, Johnny Boychuk simply leveled Erik Cole in the opening frame then promptly tackled Fiddler, who made the mistake of trying to come to Cole's defense on what was an unquestionably clean hit. Boychuk, who was in his first game back after missing Saturday's contest with an undisclosed injuy, had a pretty good showing in 24-plus minutes of ice time, but we'll give him props for his highlight-reel hit.
Rask was certainly the tough-luck loser in this one. No. 40 really had to buckle down as the game wore on, as the Stars' attacks kept coming in waves. The Finnish netminder came up with plenty of huge stops in what was a tight game throughout, only surrendering one true goal -- Benn's marker in the opening minutes and finishing the night with 34 saves on 36 shots.
Connolly's Critiques: I can't seem to figure out why Krug didn't see action in overtime until there was 1:52 left on what was -- by my count -- Boston's fourth 'D' shift. Maybe that was Julien's plan, as Krug was eventually on the ice for 1:27 of the extra session, but you'd think he'd go to him early given the open ice and the fact that the B's were playing a Western Conference foe.
Greg Campbell remains the only Bruins regular without a point, as he's now been held without a goal or an assist in all 14 of Boston's games. The fourth line was mighty quiet tonight, as Campbell, Dan Paille and Shawn Thornton combined for zero shots and didn't have many a memorable shift.
Notes: Lucic has now officially tied his goal-scoring output (seven tallies) from last season. ... Of the four players involved in this summer's deal between the Bruins and Stars, Reilly Smith (1a) was the only one to notch a point in regulation. Loui Eriksson had three shots in his first game back after missing the B's last five contests with a concussion.
Final Thoughts: After getting off to a 7-2-0 start to the year, the Bruins have won just one of their last five tilts, going 1-3-1. The frustration is starting to mount. Boston should rebound with the sad sack Panthers coming to town Thursday, but they've played down to the competition far too often this season to consider their next tilt a guaranteed two points. Count this loss to the Stars among those instances.
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