The Dallas Stars didn’t have to look hard to find where things went wrong in their 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday.

The Dallas Stars didn’t have to look hard to find where things went wrong in their 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday.Three straight penalties in 9:51, breakdowns on the penalty kill and turnovers combined to put them in a 3-0 hole in the first period.
“That’s where we lost the game today,” Stars forward Mattias Janmark said. “We don’t want to take penalties. We’ve taken way too many throughout the playoffs. Then I think when we get them, we’ve just got to go out and kill them. We didn’t manage to do that today, and I think that’s where they won the game. So we’ve got to do a better job there.”
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Although Dallas clawed its way back to within one goal with Joe Pavelski’s power-play deflection with 5:17 left in the second period and Janmark’s redirection 5:27 into the third, it could not complete the comeback, and Tampa Bay evened the best-of-7 series. Game 3 is in Edmonton, the hub city for the Cup Final, on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“It was an even game up until we started taking penalties and then all the sudden their power play connected,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “Two of their goals went in off of us, but that’s going to happen. So it’s very easy to explain. It’s face-offs, turnovers and penalties. So the things you can’t afford to do against an elite club like that.”
The first period was almost a continuation of the third period of Game 1 on Saturday. The Stars won 4-1 but were outshot 22-2 in the third period, Tampa Bay’s comeback attempt fueled by three straight Dallas penalties in 8:04.
The difference in Game 2 was goalie Anton Khudobin wasn’t able to cover up the Stars’ mistakes.
The Lightning were 0-for-14 on the power play over their previous four games, including 0-for-3 in Game 1. That drought became 0-for-15 when they failed to score after Janmark’s high-sticking minor 3:20 into Game 2.
But Dallas’ repeated trips to the penalty box finally caught up to it after Pavelski was called for tripping Anthony Cirelli at 10:58 of the first. Nikita Kucherov set up Brayden Point for a power-play goal with 8:37 remaining in the period to begin an outburst of three goals in 3:53 for Tampa Bay.
Video: The Stars fall short in taking a 2 – 0 series lead
Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak was called for holding Tyler Johnson at 13:11 to put the Lightning on the power play again, and Ondrej Palat scored off a cross-ice feed from Kucherov at 14:22.
A turnover by Stars forward Joel Kiviranta at the Dallas blue line eventually led to defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk increasing Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-0 with a right point shot that in deflected off the shin pad of Stars defenseman Esa Lindell at 15:16.
That even-strength goal turned out to be the game-winner, but the Stars’ downfall began with the penalties.
“When we stay out of the box, we’ve shown so far that we’re a good team,” Pavelski said. “And when we’ve got to kill and when you feed their top guys that kind of confidence (when) they get to touch the puck and play with a little bit more space, it feeds their confidence a little bit and they get a little momentum.
“We’ve done a good job most games as far as killing penalties and getting a little momentum back from it, but we got to limit those chances, especially with their power play. We can kill one, two, three a night and we don’t need to be killing three or four a period.”
Video: Lightning win Game 2, even series vs. Stars
Dallas has been resilient throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, coming back from down multiple goals to win three times, including a 7-3 victory against the Calgary Flames in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round after falling behind 3-0.
It looked like the Stars might do it again after Janmark’s goal made it 3-2, but the Lightning limited them to two shots on goal the rest of the game, and Dallas’ early mistakes proved too much to erase.
“The hole was a little bit too deep tonight,” Pavelski said. “But there was no quit. There was no nothing. We started to find our game, so our game came back, and it needs to stay at that level going forward.”