DALLAS — The Lightning's matchup with the Stars on Friday night had a couple of significant story lines.
Tampa Bay wanted desperately to build on Tuesday's dramatic victory over the Bruins and establish it can win games on the road.
Teddy Purcell made sure both happened with both Lightning goals in a 2-1 victory at the American Airlines Center that snapped a six-game road skid.
Purcell's backhander from the slot 3:36 into the third broke a tie the Stars forged 2:14 earlier when Tom Wandell poked a puck past a sprawling Mathieu Garon. That came after defenseman Pavel Kubina's offensive zone giveaway.
"It's huge," Garon said. "It's something to win a game at home against Boston. But if you can't win the game after that, it isn't worth it."
Marty St. Louis had two assists, and Garon made 27 saves despite sustaining what he called a "little stinger" during the second period when he was run over by teammate Steven Stamkos, who had been pushed by Dallas' Alex Goligoski.
Not that everything was rosy.
Tampa Bay (19-23-4) lost all of the momentum after a first period in which it had a 13-5 shot advantage (and could have led by more than 1-0 if not for stellar work by Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen.) It was outshot 23-9 over the final two periods as Dallas ended with a 28-22 edge. Tampa Bay also went 0-for-3 on the power play, increasing its road futility to 2-for-42.
But a team with just 17 road points (7-16-3) will take whatever it can get.
The Lightning got what it needed from Purcell, who had not had a multiple-goal game in the regular season since a Feb. 23 hat trick against the Coyotes.
The right wing, who has 11 goals, had seven shots. Six came in the first, which were two more than his season high for a game. Purcell made it 1-0 off a perfect backhand pass from the right wing boards from St. Louis. Purcell, alone in front of the net, was patient and shoved the puck under Lehtonen with 1:12 left.
"We want to put a streak together. So it was a great job on the road," Purcell said. "Even when they scored their goal, it showed a lot of confidence. We didn't sit on our heels and kept pushing for that extra one."
As evidence of the Lightning's urgency, coach Guy Boucher gave his fourth line little ice time despite having a game tonight in Phoenix.
"By the third period, you could see our guys getting tired," Boucher said. "It's one of those tight games we're leading and we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow.
"Any time we can get points, I'm focusing on that. I didn't care about tomorrow."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected] View his blog at lightning.tampabay.com and follow him on Twitter at @LightningTimes.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Purcell 10 (St. Louis, Gervais), 18:48. Penalties—Wandell, Dal (tripping), 4:55; Robidas, Dal (high-sticking), 12:35; Connolly, TB (tripping), 16:14.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Moore, TB (boarding), 5:55; Connolly, TB (tripping), 9:02; P.Labrie, TB, major (fighting), 17:42; Nystrom, Dal, major (fighting), 17:42.
Third Period—2, Dallas, Wandell 3 (Eriksson), 1:22. 3, Tampa Bay, Purcell 11 (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 3:36. Penalties—Malone, TB (cross-checking), 7:31; Fiddler, Dal (slashing), 8:53. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 13-5-4—22. Dallas 5-12-11—28. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 3; Dallas 0 of 4. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Garon 13-13-2 (28 shots-27 saves). Dallas, Lehtonen 16-10-1 (22-20). A—14,836 (18,532).