Michael Ryder scored with 5:13 remaining in the third period to bring the Stars to within one goal at 4-3, but the St. Louis Blues held on for a 5-3 win as Chris Stewart netted two goals, including an empty net goal in the final minute.
Stewart opened the game’s scoring with a power play goal, one of two on the night for a struggling Blues power play that came in to the game ranked dead last in the NHL.
Mike Ribeiro got the Stars on the board with a goal 4:22 into the second period as Ribeiro scored from a similar to Stewart’s first goal.
Adam Cracknell added his first goal of the year to recapture the lead for the Blues at 2-1. Former Star Jason Arnott scored on a one-timer wrist shot from the left point on the power play to extend the lead to two goals.
Entering the third period down 3-1, the Stars looked to battle back and make it tough on the home team to hold their lead, but it was the Blues’ Evgeny Grachev first NHL goal at 6:43 that put the Stars into a deep 4-1 hole.
The Stars kept fighting as Eric Nystrom scored on a quick wrist shot from the slot off a Radek Dvorak pass from the right boards to bring the score to 4-2.
Ryder scored off a Blues neutral zone turnover that lead to an odd-man rush as Ryder snapped a shot top-right corner over Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak that gave the Stars hope.
Dallas pulled Bachman with 1:30 remaining for an extra attacker, but Stewart and David Perron were able to push it out to center ice with Stewart finally burying the empty net goal to keep the Stars comeback attempt at bay.
The Stars penalty kill has also struggled lately, as they have surrendered two power play goals in their previous three games against Nashville, Philadelphia and Anahiem.
Optimistically, the Stars did face teams that have top 15 power plays.- Nashville(2), Philadelphia (9), and Anahiem (15)
If this year’s Stars team is to make the playoffs after failing to the previous three seasons, they will have to sure up the penalty kill as well as taking fewer penalties if they aren’t able to kill them off.
They also played without their top pair of defenseman, Stephane Robidas and key free-agent acquisition Sheldon Souray, both who log key ice time on the penalty kill.
The Stars are 7-5 since losing starting goal tender Kari Lehtonen to a groin injury. Lehtonen was the backbone to the Stars terrific start to the season and is rumored to return in the next week.
Bachman has done a solid job filling in as the starting goalie, but was pulled in between the second and third period in favor of Andrew Raycroft after surrendering two easy goals.
The Stars have struggled to put together consistent defensive efforts lately and will welcome Lehtonen back with a sense of excitement and relief.
Sitting seventh in the western conference standings with 41 points, the Stars look to rebound Thursday at American Airlines Center as they host Columbus (9-22-4).