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New Script, Same Old Ending: Dallas Beats Penguins, 4-2



This time, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ problem was not a bad start.

Quite the opposite, really.

They got a pretty good one against Dallas at American Airlines Center Friday night, and the momentum from it carried them through to the first intermission.

Turned out, though, that they just deferred their poor start to the beginning of the second period, and the Stars eventually scored two goals in 77 seconds to make their 4-2 victory over the Penguins possible.

The defeat stretched the Penguins’ losing streak on the road to 0-6-1 — their worst stretch of away games since a 0-8-1 skid Jan. 6-Feb. 6, 2006 — and dropped their record to 30-30-9. If they drift any farther from the Eastern Conference playoff field, they’ll need to use the Hubble Telescope to maintain visual contact.

Defenseman Jack St. Ivany made his NHL debut, filling in for Ryan Graves, who did not accompany the team to Dallas because his partner was expected to give birth to the couple’s first child. St. Ivany was deployed alongside John Ludvig on the No. 3 pairing and had a generally solid showing all over the ice.

The Penguins, so often guilty of overpassing their way out of scoring opportunities, benefitted from the Stars doing just that on the first shift of the game. Dallas threw the puck around so much that it never actually generated a shot on Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry.

The Penguins recorded the first three shots of the game, and the last of those ended up behind Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger.

Michael Bunting got the goal, putting a shot past Oettinger from the right side of the crease at 2:45 of the opening period as Stars defenseman Thomas Harley was knocking him to the ice from behind. Evgeni Malkin and P.O Joseph received assists on the goal, Bunting’s 16th of the season and third in eight games since being acquired from Carolina in the Jake Guentzel trade.

Although the Pittsburgh Penguins had the better of play for several minutes after Bunting scored, Joe Pavelski tied the game at 7:16, when he directed a puck past Jarry from close range.

The Penguins were awarded the only power play during the first period, as Dallas forward Wyatt Johnston was called for holding Noel Acciari at 18:27. They were unable to take advantage of their time with the extra man.

Emil Bemstrom, who started the evening with a 13-game goal-less streak, nearly put the Penguins back in front at 3:27 of the second period. His shot from the right side eluded Oettinger, but hit the crossbar.

Penguins winger Rickard Rakell was penalized for hooking at 5:30, and Dallas needed just 22 seconds to go in front, as Jamie Benn beat Jarry on the short side from inside the left circle.

Benn struck again at 7:09, putting a shot past Jarry from low in the left circle for what proved to be the game-winner.

The Penguins got their second chance with the man-advantage when Stars forward Tyler Seguin was called for tripping Lars Eller at 7:37. They kept the puck in the Dallas end for most of the two minutes that followed, but never seriously threatened to score.

Sam Steel drove Jarry from the game at 4:37 of the third by throwing a shot past him on the stick side to put Dallas up, 4-1. Jarry stopped 16 of 20 shots before being replaced by Alex Nedeljkovic.

Rakell stopped the Stars’ run of unanswered goals at 11:03. Malkin set him up in front of the net, and Rakell flipped a shot past Oettinger for his 11th of the season.

The second assist went to Bunting, who got his first multiple-point game since joining the Penguins.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will not practice Saturday. They will travel to Denver for a game against Colorado Sunday afternoon.