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Struggling Lightning get thumped by Stars, lose fourth in a row

Andrei Vasilevskiy is pulled after two periods with Tampa Bay trailing by five goals.
 
Stars center Wyatt Johnston (53) and defenseman Miro Heiskanen (4) attack against Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the first period Saturday afternoon in Dallas.
Stars center Wyatt Johnston (53) and defenseman Miro Heiskanen (4) attack against Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the first period Saturday afternoon in Dallas. [ JULIO CORTEZ | AP ]
Published Dec. 2, 2023|Updated Dec. 3, 2023

DALLAS — Jason Robertson scored twice and Joe Pavelski had a goal and two assists, helping the Stars beat the struggling Lightning 8-1 on Saturday.

Jamie Benn and Mason Marchment each had a goal and an assist for Dallas (14-5-3), which raced out to an early 3-0 lead. Tyler Seguin, Thomas Harley and Sam Steel also scored, and Jake Oettinger made 32 saves.

Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning (10-10-5), who have lost four consecutive games for the first time this season. The eight goals matched a season high for Dallas and are the most allowed by Tampa Bay.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was relieved after two periods, allowing six goals on 25 shots in his fourth start since returning last week following offseason back surgery. Jonas Johansson allowed the goals to Harley and Steel late in the game.

Vasilevskiy, a former Vezina and Conn Smythe winner, entered with a 13-2-3 career record and 1.76 goals-against average against Dallas in regular-season play, plus all six decisions in the Bolts’ 2020 Stanley Cup Final victory over the Stars.

“This is his fourth game in almost a year, so he’s getting his legs back,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “He’s still the best in the world.”

Robertson has eight goals in 22 games after scoring 18 to this point last season, when he led Dallas with 46. Benn, the NHL’s 2014-15 scoring champion, had one goal in his previous 13 games.

“We’ve had different guys battling some confidence in scoring at different points,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. “The right guys got goals tonight.”

Seguin opened the scoring at 1:01 by bunting in a puck that popped up on a centering pass by Marchment. Robertson made it 2-0 by squeezing a shot between Vasilevskiy’s right skate and the post at 6:28 of the first. Benn made it 3-0 at 7:39 on a breakaway goal on Dallas’ seventh shot on net.

“It just seems like there’s a black cloud hanging over us,” Tampa Bay defenseman Calvin de Haan said.

Stars center Joe Pavelski, center, celebrates his power-play goal with defenseman Thomas Harley (55) and defenseman Ryan Suter (20) as Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) skates by during the second period.
Stars center Joe Pavelski, center, celebrates his power-play goal with defenseman Thomas Harley (55) and defenseman Ryan Suter (20) as Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) skates by during the second period. [ JULIO CORTEZ | AP ]

The Lightning capitalized on a double-minor penalty on Miro Heiskanen. Hedman whistled home a shot from the high slot 1:04 into the power play.

Marchment followed his first two-goal game of the season on Thursday at Calgary by scoring on a wrist shot at 3:42 of the second period for a 4-1 lead.

Pavelski’s power-play goal at 12:25 of the second increased his team-high total to 11 on the season.

Robertson’s second goal was also a power-play score, at 14:23 of the second. He converted a rebound after Benn’s shot caromed off the post.

Nikita Kucherov, who went into play leading the NHL with 39 points, assisted on Hedman’s goal to extend his point streak to nine games (four goals, 13 assists).

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“You get a game like this, in 82 games, there’s going to be some stinkers, and when it feels like every shot is going into the net, and every one you take is not. That happens,” Cooper said. “Usually, you just burn the tape and turn the page and move on to the next game.

“What makes it tough is the three (games) before, where we feel for sure we could have taken two of them, probably gotten points out of the last three and we don’t; now all of a sudden we’ve lost four in a row and this one is much more of a stinger.”

Up next

The teams will complete the home-and-home series at Tampa on Monday.