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Lightning power play shows signs of life

The Stars’ Julius Honka, front, checks Cedric Paquette into the boards in the first. Paquette later leaves with an injury.

Associated Press

The Stars’ Julius Honka, front, checks Cedric Paquette into the boards in the first. Paquette later leaves with an injury.

DALLAS — After getting just one goal in 12 power-play opportunities going into Saturday's preseason game, the Lightning struck twice against the Stars, getting goals from C Vladislav Namestnikov and LW Jonathan Drouin in the second period before Dallas pulled away in the third for a 6-3 win at American Airlines Center.

"I'm definitely more confident in myself, more relaxed out there, more myself than last year," said Drouin, who skated the length of the ice on his goal. "I know the system, know the other teams, and that definitely helps in my second year."

The Lightning had six power plays in the first 35 minutes. Namestnikov, who had accounted for the only previous power-play goal, got his second early in the second period for a 1-0 lead. He scored six seconds into the fourth power play, parking near the front of the net and taking a pass from D Nikita Nesterov to beat G Antti Niemi.

Drouin got his second goal on another power play to tie the score at 2 at 13:54.

INJURY SCARE: C Cedric Paquette went down late in the third period with an injury to his left leg after he blocked a Stars shot while on the penalty kill. Paquette had to be helped off the ice, but he was walking around after the game.

"He's getting X-rayed, so we'll have to wait and see what happens," coach Jon Cooper said. "He took a good one. That was a pretty heavy shot. He's a tough kid, though. Hopefully he's going to be okay."

ROUGH PATCH: G Ray Emery, competing to open the season as Ben Bishop's backup, didn't allow any goals in his first 54 minutes this preseason, then gave up three in the second period Saturday. Then, after the Lightning tied the score at 3, he gave up another three goals in 2:19 in the third period.

"Tough two minutes and 19 seconds," said Cooper, whose team dropped to 1-2-1 in the preseason. "It was kind of lights out after that. We had a really inexperienced team in there, and some of (Dallas') seasoned vets took advantage of us a little bit. It was scrambling all over the ice. (Emery) had a little bit of bad puck luck there."

GETTING USED TO IT: Though the score wasn't tied at the end of regulation, the Lightning and Stars were mandated to play a 3-on-3 overtime period as the NHL transitions from 4-on-4 OT play to 3-on-3 this season. The Lightning got a taste of the format in Tuesday's preseason opener against the Predators, giving up the winner 3:50 into the extra period to lose 3-2.

BOLTS BITS: The Lightning return home with three games left on their preseason schedule. … The Lightning is carrying 53 players on its roster, with additional cuts expected today as it works its way to an opening roster of 23. … Tampa Bay went into Saturday's game having allowed four power-play goals in 12 opportunities, fourth worst in the league, then gave up one in Dallas' first two power plays.

Lightning power play shows signs of life 09/26/15 [Last modified: Saturday, September 26, 2015 11:41pm]
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