Bill Meltzer: Star Gazing: Bolts Strike Stars Six Times, Dallas Falls 6-3

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After grabbing victories in each of their first two preseason games, the Dallas Stars seemed heavy-legged and out of synch in a 6-3 loss last night to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

Initially slated to go the distance in goal, Stars starter Kari Lehtonen played only the first periods after getting strafed for five goals on 18 shots.

Jussi Rynnäs mopped up in the third period, turning back eight of nine shots. Ben Bishop (11 saves on 13 shots in 29:46) and Evgeni Nabokov (eight saves on nine shots in 30:14) split netminding duties for the Lightning.

Texas Stars forward Brendan Ranford notched a goal and an assist for Dallas, while Jason Spezza and Nicolas Blanchard also notched one goal apiece. Third-line right winger Brett Richie collected assists on the Blanchard and Spezza goals.

Dallas led 2-1 at one point in the first period and the game was tied 2-2 at the first intermission. Thereafter, the Bolts exploded for five unanswered goals before Spezza’s first goal of the preseason closed out the scoring. Swedish defensemen Patrik Nemeth (minus-four) and John Klingberg (minus-three) had a particularly rough night for the Stars.

On the bright side for Dallas, Valeri Nichushkin skated in his first preseason game after sustaining a groin pull earlier in training camp. He had one shot on goal in 13:07 of ice time. Likewise, veteran defenseman Trevor Daley saw his first preseason action and logged 21:05 of ice time.

This was the Stars’ lineup in the game:

Shawn Horcoff – Jason Spezza – Valeri Nichushkin

Brendan Ranford – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour

Nicolas Blanchard – Jason Dickinson – Brett Ritchie

Ludwig Karlsson – Taylor Peters – Scott Glennie

Trevor Daley – Julius Honka

Jordie Benn – Sergei Gonchar

Patrik Nemeth – John Klingberg

Kari Lehtonen / Jussi Rynnas

For Tampa Bay, defenseman Anton Strålman led the way with two goals and was plus-four on the night. Ryan Callahan notched a goal and an assist. Cody Kunyk, Nikita Kucherov and Matthew Corrente also scored for the Lightning. Steven Stamkos had one assist while free agent acquistion Brian Boyle had a pair of helpers.

Tonight, the Stars have a road tilt in Kansas City against the St. Louis Blues. None of the regular players who dressed last night in Tampa are expected to play tonight. After an off-day on Sunday, Dallas has back-to-back home games against the Florida Panthers and the Lightning on Monday and Tuesday nights.

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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