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Andrej Sekera Scores Late In The Match, But The Dallas Stars Still Fall To The Lightning 2-1

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A series of missed opportunities ended with the Dallas Stars losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning... again.

Steven Stamkos and Yanni Gourde scored in the second period and Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded his franchise-record 12th straight win as the Lightning beat Dallas Stars 2-1 on Tuesday night and extended their dominance in the season series between last year's Stanley Cup finalists.

Vasilevskiy made 16 saves as the NHL-leading Lightning won their fifth straight overall and improved to 4-0-0 this season against the Stars. Tampa Bay beat Dallas in six games in the fall.

Roope Hintz scored his ninth goal and Anton Khudobin stopped 24 shots for Dallas, which has lost four of its last five games (1-2-2).

The Lightning have opened a five-point lead in the Central Division over Carolina, the Hurricanes with one game in hand.

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) chase after the puck during the game on March 23, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (credit: Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Stars are in seventh place in the division, trailing fourth-place Chicago for the division's last playoff berth by seven points while having four games in hand.

Vasilevskiy is two shy of tying the NHL record for most consecutive goalie wins, most recently set by Sergei Bobrovsky in 2016-17.

"I just didn't think about it," Vasilevskiy said of the streak. "I just tried to do my job."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper noted the streak is no fluke for a goalie with four career double-digit winning streaks. Vasilevskiy went into play leading the NHL in wins (now 21) and save percentage, and was second in goals against average.

"He's a cornerstone goaltender," Cooper said. "He just continues to amaze. And I'm glad he didn't have to stand on his head tonight for this one."

Vasilevskiy called it an easy game given he faced his second fewest shots of the season, but there conversely was a challenge in facing only seven shots through two periods, only one in the second.

Stars coach Rick Bowness said of that second period, "The worst thing you can do is sit back, and we sat back. We addressed after the period, tried to fix it during the period, but we couldn't get anything going. Then when we did have some opportunities, we either fanned on the shot or took too long to release the puck."

Stamkos' one-timer from the left circle deflected off the stick of Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera and tied the score at 8:16 of the second period on the power play for his team-best 16th goal of the season. About four minutes later, Gourde scored unassisted on the rush following his own rebound, giving him goals in four straight games.

Hintz took a pass from Jason Robertson on the goal line, skated across the crease and slipped a backhander in on Vasilevskiy's glove side for a power-play goal at 3:33 of the first period. That gave the Stars their first lead on the Lightning this season.

Hintz has been in and out of the lineup for a month with a nagging lower body injury. He has five goals and three assists in his past six games for nine total goals, second on the team.

The Lightning killed overlapping penalties late in the third period that included 1:29 of 5-on-3.

"We didn't create anything," Bowness said. "You get that much of an opportunity to tie the game, you've got your best players on the ice. I didn't like anything about that 5-on-3."

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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