Lehtonen struggles as Stars fall to Lightning
Tampa Bay couldn't take advantage of its power plays. Then Tyler Johnson ended the Lightning's drought.
Before Johnson scored off a cross-ice pass from Nikita Kucherov for a 3-2 lead in a 5-3 victory over Dallas, Tampa Bay had been 1 for 22 on power plays. His winner highlighted a three-goal third period.
"(A) challenge we threw on ourselves was we got to score a power-play goal," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "When it comes right down to it, that was a big difference for us."
Tampa Bay scored on one of three power plays, all in the third period, against Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen. The Stars were 0 for 4 after scoring seven goals on the power play in their three previous games.
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said, "Kari wasn't good enough for us tonight. That power-play goal for me is a goal that he misread. It should have been a save."
After the Stars retied Thursday's game barely a minute later on Trevor Daley's goal, Johnson tipped in Brian Boyle's shot for the winner with 3:37 remaining.
"It hit me in the blade," Johnson said. I just tipped it. It went 5-hole. I knew that one went in. I was pretty pumped."
Kucherov scored into an empty net with 1:17 to go. Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had a goal and an assist. Ondrej Palat assisted on Tampa Bay's final two goals.
The Stars' Alex Goligoski had a goal and an assist.
While Lehtonen was giving up four goals on 28 shots, Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was making 33 saves on his return to the NHL.
"When Dallas was buzzing, he was the calm in the storm," Cooper said. "If we don't have him, we don't win that game."
Tampa Bay entered the game leading the league in scoring, with Dallas second.
Stamkos and Victor Hedman scored on the Lightning's first two shots.
All three Dallas goals were by defensemen. John Klingberg and Goligoski scored in the second period, and Daley tied the game at 3 in the third
The Lightning missed shots on good scoring chances early, but scored with their first shot on goal at 3:11. Mark Barberio's partially blocked shot bounced to the front of the net, where Stamkos swept it past Lehtonen.
Stamkos assisted on Hedman's goal. Cody Eakin blocked Hedman's first shot at the top of the slot, but Hedman retrieved the puck and fired it into the lower right corner of the net.
Klingberg connected at 15:21 of the second period. In the right faceoff circle, Tampa Bay's Brenden Morrow dropped to block a possible shot, but Klingberg skated to his left and shot across Vasilevskiy into the left side of the net.
At 15:36, Goligoski tipped in Vernon Fiddler's pass from low in the right circle to the front of the net for the tying goal.
NOTES: Vasilevskiy (4-1 this season) was recalled Sunday from Syracuse of the AHL. He started in place of Ben Bishop, who allowed five goals on 28 shots in his most recent game against Dallas. . The Stars recalled RW Brett Ritchie from Texas of the AHL to replace LW Travis Moen (lower body injury), who went on injured reserve. ... Tampa Bay's Jason Garrison (lower body) left early in the third period and didn't return. ... Tampa's Cedric Paquette entered the night with a five-game point scoring streak and six goals in his last four games, but was held scoreless. ... Both teams were in the first of three games in four nights. ... The fathers of Tampa Bay players and Cooper accompanied the team on the two-game trip to St. Louis and Dallas.