A run of four unanswered goals from the Stars in the first and second periods, special teams lapses by Tampa Bay and some very good goaltending from Kari Lehtonen of Dallas put the Lightning in a hole they couldn't climb out of.
The Lightning opened the scoring at 2:24 of the first on a goal from Steven Stamkos, assisted by Jonathan Drouin.
Tyler Seguin tied the game for Dallas at 8:58. He was assisted by Jyrki Jokipakka and Jamie Benn.
They took the lead at 14:14 when Benn scored on the power play, with Nikita Nesterov serving a five minute major for checking from behind. Benn got help from Jason Spezza and Seguin.
"Any time you take a five minute penalty it kind of sucks the wind out, but you have to kill those off. It starts with me. The penalty kill hasn't done well, and the goalie has to be the best penalty killer out there and I haven't done that so far. It's still early, but we've got some things to learn." - Lightning goalie Ben Bishop
Dallas was on top 2-1 after the first period.
The Stars scored two more unanswered goals in the second to pull away.
The first of those came from Cody Eakin on assists from Mattias Janmark and Colton Sceviour at 9:34.
That was followed at 18:12 by a power play tally from Jason Demers. He got assistance from Eakin and Ales Hemsky on the play. DAL 4 20 83
Bolts defenseman Victor Hedman didn't skate in the last four and a half minutes of the period and didn't play at all in the third.
Heading into the third down 4-1, the Lightning cut into the lead at the 7:06 mark on a goal from Vladislav Namestnikov who was assisted by Stamkos.
Just under two minutes later at 8:44, the Lightning closed within one on Stamkos' second goal of the night, assisted this time by Drouin and Brian Boyle.
With plenty of time and momentum on their side, the Lightning saw their rally spark extinguished at 10:29 when Spezza scored for the Stars, helped out by Hemsky and Alex Goligoski.
Bishop, who allowed five goals on the 22 shots he faced, was pulled with about three minutes left but all the scoring was finished for the night.
"I think we need to work on our special teams a little bit, and our penalty kill was the top 10 in the league last year and we're struggling there. Our power play we got off to a decent start and today we couldn't even put the puck in the zone. So we'll work on that, but those are things I think we can improve on and work on." - Stamkos
In the other net, Lehtonen stopped 30 of 33 on the night.
The Lightning's next game is Saturday at home, hosting the Buffalo Sabres.
- Tonight marks the start of the first homestand of the season (two games).
- The Lightning are now 4-12-3 all time at home against the Stars, their worst home record of any NHL opponent.
- The Lightning are now 2-1 on the season when scoring first.
- The Lightning and the Stars were the first and second (respective) highest scoring teams in the NHL last season, with Tampa Bay scoring 259 goals and Dallas scoring 257.
- Jason Garrison remains three assists shy of 1000 for his career.
- The Lightning didn't lose consecutive games until November last season (a 3-2 shootout in Chicago on November 11th and a 2-1 loss to San Jose at home on the 13th).
- This was the 50th multi-goal game of Stamkos career and his first this season.
- Of the 12 goals Bishop has allowed this season, seven have come on the opponents power play
- Dallas forward Curtis McKenzie suffered a "lower body injury" in the second period and did not return.
- Lightning forward Alex Killorn was a late scratch and is listed as "day-to-day" with an "upper body injury".
- No update on Victor Hedman at this point, although "concussion protocol" was mentioned.
- The Lightning organization honored Daniel Dean as the second Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Dean, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Bible Truth Ministries, B.E.S.T., the Evolution Institute and BAYTAF. Dean transformed the East Tampa landscape by creating and building Bible Truth Ministries after obtaining the property on 22nd street across from Middleton High School. He constructed a three-building complex with help from his family and neighborhood volunteers. The complex consists of a playground, basketball court and a community garden. In addition to the school, another building houses the sanctuary and a community center with a fully equipped kitchen. A library with computer and science centers completes the complex. Over 350 students have graduated from the school and all the students who began at the school are now at or above grade level. Determined to transform one of Tampa's roughest neighborhoods into a safe community, Dean enhanced thousands of lives with his devotion to caring for people. The legacy he works toward is a community that nurtures its young and respects one another. Recently, the City of Tampa transferred property to Bible Truth Ministries for the sole purpose of building a multiuse complex on 34th Street and Chelsea. It will serve as an early childhood learning center that will also serve as a regional teacher-training center with collaboration between USF, FAU and other University Faculty.