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Monday, October 18, 2010
Penalty kill a killer for Stars

By Mark Stepneski

The penalty kill numbers weren’t pretty for the Dallas Stars coming into Monday night’s game in Tampa Bay. By the time the game was over they were ugly.

The Stars were 1-5 on the penalty kill, giving up four power play goals in a 5-4 loss to the Lightning that ended the Stars’ winning streak at four games.

“We couldn’t kill a penalty to save our life,” Stars coach Marc Crawford told reporters after the game.

The penalty kill, which was a sore spot last season, was a big focus coming into this season. So far, the focus has resulted in some murky results. The Stars are 15-25 on the penalty kill for a league-worst 60 percent. On the road they are 6-14 or 42.9 percent. That ranks 29th in the league. Nashville, which is 0-1 in road penalty killing, ranks 30th.

The Stars have allowed at least one power play goal in each of their first five games, and the four they allowed Monday night were the season-high.

“It was very discouraging because we didn’t get in the lane,” Crawford said. “You look at the difference between the two penalty kills, they got in the lane and blocked shots and we didn’t. Their shots got through.”

Both teams had five power plays in the game. The Stars, who were 0-5, generated four shots on goal. Tampa was able to generate ten shots in their five opportunities.

“The one thing that usually wins or loses the games, it is special teams. We have to figure that out. It’s still early,” goaltender Kari Lehtonen told reporters. “We were not sharp on the PK. I have to work harder to see the shots and not to give bad rebounds, like I did at least one today. We have to clean things up a bit and I think we are going to be fine.”