By Dory LeBlanc
Entering Saturday's game, Tampa Bay has beaten Dallas in three consecutive meetings. The Lightning couldn't boast a fourth, falling 5-2 to the Stars at the sold out Forum.
The Stars wasted no time jumping out to an early lead as 40 seconds after the opening puck dropped, Jamie Benn waited at the side of the net and took a feed from Alex Goligoski that caught Ben Bishop off-guard and beat him stick side to open the scoring.
Benn scored his second goal of the night to put Dallas up by a par 4:57 later.
Down 2-0, Tampa Bay took another blow when Radko Gudas was given a match penalty for his hit on Antoine Roussel, also giving the Dallas a 5:00 power play.
By the end of 20 minutes, the Stars had amassed a 3-0 lead after Tyler Seguin beat Bishop from the right circle for his 35th goal of the season.
However, the Lightning turned the momentum around in the second period, picking up a couple of scores and killing off a four-minute double-minor to Ryan Malone for high-sticking.
Less than two minutes into the middle frame, Ondrej Palat passed the puck from the right boards to the slot where Steven Stamkos fired and lit the lamp to narrow the gap to 3-1.
Andrej Sustr, recalled Friday from the Syracuse Crunch scored his first NHL goal to bring the Bolts within one with 13:15 to go in the second period.
After two unanswered goals, the Stars came roaring back, scoring goal Nos. 4 and 5 in the third period, and putting an end to the Lightning's scoring momentum.
Less than a minute-and-a-half into the final period of regulation, Vernon Fiddler gave himself a multi-point game after shooting an unassisted backhander past Bishop to extend the Stars' lead by two.
At 5:57, Roussel put the game out of reach for Tampa Bay, giving Dallas its first win against the Bolts in regulation since December 2003.
First Period -
1. DAL - Benn (Goligoski, Seguin) 00:40
2. DAL - Benn (Garbutt, Fiddler) 05:37
3. DAL - Seguin (Benn, Benn) 18:26
Second Period -
1. TB - Stamkos (Palat, Hedman) 18:03
2. TB - Sustr (Malone, Thompson) 6:44
Third Period -
1. DAL - Fiddler (Unassisted) 1:26
2. DAL - Roussel (Garbutt, Eakin) 7:57
Shootout Tally: N/A
Shots On Goal:
DAL - (1) Roussel - Slashing; (2) Garbutt - Hooking; (3) Too Many Men, Benn - Hooking
TB - (1) Malone - Hooking, Gudas - Match Penalty; (2) Salo - Holding, Malone - High-Sticking (4:00); (3) Too Many Men
Next up for the Bolts: Tampa Bay continue on their six-game homestand Tuesday April 8th at 7:30 pm when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. You can catch all of the action on sister station 970 WFLA with Hall of Famer Phil Esposito and Dave Mishkin giving the call with coverage beginning at 7:00 pm.