Final, Stars 4-2: Dallas holds on and ends Boston's win streak at seven games.
The Bruins mounted a charge in the third, but it wasn't enough to overcome their sloppy play in the first two periods.
The Bruins will return home for a few days of practice, then start the 2012 portion of their schedule Wednesday in New Jersey.
Third Period, 18:43, Stars 4-2: The Bruins use their timeout as Claude Julien tries to draw up something to get the Bruins back into this one.
Third Period, 18:20, Stars 4-2: Thomas has been pulled as the Bruins go with the extra attacker trying to rally late in this one.
Third Period, 14:50, Stars 4-2: Time is running short for the Bruins, who haven't been able to sustain their early surge this period or cut any further into the Dallas lead.
Third Period, 9:02, Stars 4-2: The Stars counterattack and Michael Ryder breaks in alone, only to be denied by Thomas is what could be a huge save if the Bruins are able to make a game of this.
Third Period, 8:34, Stars 4-2: The hitting is picking up on both sides. Steve Ott blasts Brad Marchand at center ice with a huge hit.
Third Period, 4:55, Stars 4-2: The Bruins continue to pressure, trying to build off that early strike. They have the only four shots in the period so far, but haven't been able to get another one past Lehtonen yet.
Third Period, 1:08, Stars 4-2: The Bruins get the early goal they needed, as Milan Lucic cuts the lead to two goals.
Lucic blasts in a one-timer from between the circle off a feed from David Krejci.
Third Period, 0:00, Stars 4-1: The final frame is under way in Dallas, with the Bruins needing a huge rally to get back in this one.
Second Intermission Notes: After a sloppy first period, things didn't get much better in the second, as the Bruins continued to make costly mistakes. They again gave up a goal in the final minute and will head to the third down 4-1.
Dallas maintained its domination across the board, leading 21-11 in shots, 18-11 in hits and 25-19 on faceoffs. David Krejci is now 1-8 on draws, with the Bruins winning just 43 percent overall.
The Bruins have also continued to make uncharacteristic mistakes, getting caught out of position to give Dallas odd-man breaks and taking bad penalties, including a too many men on the ice call in the second.
The Bruins haven't allowed more than four goals in a game all season. They'll need to shut out the Stars in the third to keep that streak alive, and mount a mighty comeback to keep their winning streak going.
End Second Period, Stars 4-1: The middle frame comes to a close with things heating up on the ice. Milan Lucic throws a pair of huge hits late on Philip Larsen and Mike Ribeiro, then both Lucic and Zdeno Chara get into it a bit with Steve Ott after the final buzzer.
Second Period, 19:00, Stars 4-1: So much for that momentum, as Dallas strikes in the final minute of the period again to push the lead to three goals.
Tom Wandell scores with a tap in at the left post off a feed from Adam Burish on a 2 on 1.
Second Period, 17:25, Stars 3-1: The Bruins do seem to have been energized by the bout as the Kelly line produces their best chances of the period on a strong shift.
Second Period, 15:22, Stars 3-1: The gloves finally come off as Gregory Campbell and Jake Dowell square off. This came after they each took runs at each other that shift, finally leading to the dustup. the preamble was better than the bout itself, as neither was able to get loose and land much in the way of punches.
Second Period, 12:27, Stars 3-1: The Bruins can't convert the abbreviated power play after the 4 on 4 and the sides are back at even strength.
Second Period, 10:27, Stars 3-1: The Stars even it up as Michael Ryder goes to the box again, this time for tripping to make it 4 on 4.
Second Period, 9:16, Stars 3-1: The mistakes continue for the Bruins, who get called for too many men just before Thornton's penalty expires. It will be 5 on 3 for just three seconds, but the Stars' power play will continue for another two minutes.
Second Period, 7:19, Stars 3-1: A strong physical shift by the fourth line is spoiled by another penalty call on the Bruins. Shawn Thornton is sent off for slashing as Dallas goes on its fifth power play of the night.
Second Period, 4:02, Stars 3-1: Adam McQuaid and Adam Pardy get into a shoving match in front of the benches but are quickly separated. No penalties called in the first sign of any rough stuff in this one.
Second Period, 2:31, Stars 3-1: The Bruins can't convert that chance despite another bid by Seguin early in the power play and an opportunity by Milan Lucic in front late in the penalty.
Second Period, 0:31, Stars 3-1: The Bruins get an early power-play chance of their own in the second as Mike Ribeiro gets sent to the box for slashing in the opening minute.
Second Period, 0:00, Stars 3-1: The middle frame is under way in Dallas, where the Bruins will try to dig out of the hole they dug for themselves in the opening frame.
First Intermission Notes: A rare lack of discipline has cost the Bruins early in this one, with Dallas converting 2 of 4 power-play chances, including a 5-on-3 opportunity.
The Bruins had been 21 for 21 on the PK in the previous six games and had not allowed more than one power-play goal in a game since Nov. 23 at Buffalo. They were 47 of 49 on the PK in the 14 games since. Dallas, meanwhile, was 0 for 11 on the power play in its previous four games.
The Stars have dominated in all areas of this one. In addition to the 3-1 lead on the scoreboard, they're leading 12-5 in shots, 9-3 in hits and 13-8 on faceoffs. The Bruins usually dominate the draws, but won just 38 percent in the first period. David Krejci is 0-5 and Gregory Campbell 0-3.
The lone Bruin to show any spark has been Tyler Seguin, who had one of his best periods in weeks. He scored the lone goal for Boston and had another shot clang the post.
End First Period, Stars 3-1: An ugly first frame comes to a close. The Bruins' lack of discipline costs them mightily as the stars jump out to a two-goal lead after 20 minutes.
First Period, 19:20, Stars 3-1: The Stars make the Bruins pay on the power play again as Michael Ryder extends the lead on his old team.
Ryder took the puck in the right circle, made a nifty deke around a defender and flipped in a backhander from in front.
First Period, 18:31, Stars 2-1: The Bruins take another penalty as Zdeno Chara is caught retaliating to a cross-check by Brenden Morrow and gets called for interference for tackling Morrow in the crease.
First Period, 16:59, Stars 2-1: The Stars come right back and take the lead on a fortunate bounce.
Milan Lucic gets caught up ice going for a hit, leading to an odd-man break. Trevor Daley fired in a shot from the right circle that caught Thomas up high, bounces up, then deflects off Thomas' back and over the goal line.
First Period, 14:42, 1-1: Tyler Seguin comes within inches of getting his second of the night as he beats Lehtonen from the right slot, but clangs iron as the puck goes off the near post.
First Period, 12:57, 1-1: The Bruins couldn't added another in their brief power play and Ryder is out of the box as the sides get back to even strength.
First Period, 11:39, 1-1: The Bruins score on the 4 on 4 as Tyler Seguin ties the game.
Seguin tipped in a shot in front as David Krejci sent the puck in from between the circles.
First Period, 10:57, Stars 1-0: The Stars even that up as ex-Bruin Michael Ryder is sent off for interference after unending Johnny Boychuk.
First Period, 9:58, Stars 1-0: And the Bruins will be shorthanded again as Brad Marchand goes off this time for holding the stick.
First Period, 8:32, Stars 1-0: The Stars definitely have more jump in the early going of this one. They're carrying the play and creating chances as the Bruins are back on their heels a bit since those early penalties.
First Period, 4:15, Stars 1-0: The Bruins kill off the rest of the penalty and are back to even strength down just a goal.
First Period, 3:21, Stars 1-0: The Stars cash in on the two-man advantage as Loui Ericksson scores from the right circle off a crossing pass from Alex Gologoski.
That ends Boston's penalty kill streak at 26 straight, and Boston still has the rest of Seidenberg's penalty to kill.
First Period, 2:15, 0-0: The Bruins now two men down as Dennis Seidenberg clears the puck over the glass and gets the automatic delay of game call. The Stars will have a 5 on 3 for 1:53.
First Period, 2:08, 0-0: The Bruins will have an early penalty to kill as Chris Kelly is sent to the box for hooking Adam Pardy.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And the last game of a memorable 2011 is under way for the Bruins, who are looking for their eighth straight win as they take on the Stars in Dallas.
8 p.m.: The Bruins will open this New Year's Eve battle with their top performing line of the past year as Patrice Bergeron starts between Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg start together on defense, with Tim Thomas in goal.
The Stars counter with Eric Nystrom, Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak up front, Philip Larsen and Alex Goligoski on the blue line and Kari Lehtonen in net.
7:55 p.m.: The Bruins have officially scratched Zach Hamill and Steven Kampfer. Rich Peverley is back in the lineup.
Toby Petersen, Sheldon Souray (ankle), Stephane Robidas (lower body) out for Dallas.
7:30 p.m.: No surprises when the teams took the ice for warm-ups in Dallas. Tim Thomas and Kari Lehtonen led the teams out and that will be the goaltending matchup in this one as expected.
7:15 p.m.: While the Bruins welcome back Rich Peverley, they'll also get a chance to catch up with old friend Michael Ryder.
The former Bruin will face his old club for the first time since signing with Dallas, where he leads the stars with 14 goals this season.
Catching up with the other Stars might not be as friendly, as recent clashes between the clubs have produced plenty of fireworks.
7 p.m.: The Bruins will play their final game in 2011 in just about an hour when they take on the Stars in Dallas.
They'll do it wil Rich Peverley in the lineup, as he will return after missing two games with an undisclosed injury.
They'll also do it with Tim Thomas in net as he returns for his first start since Dec. 19.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins will look to close out what has been a banner 2011 when they continue their three-game road trip with a stop in Dallas for a New Year's Eve clash with the Stars on Saturday.
The reigning Cup champion Bruins have won seven straight and are 21-2-1 since the start of November. That run has moved them back atop the Northeast Division and has had them in and out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers moved back into first with a win over Florida on Friday, but the Bruins, who have two games in hand on New York, can retake the lead with a win over the Stars.
Dallas was atop the Pacific Division back at the start of the month, but the Stars have stumbled in December. They have gone just 6-6-0 this month, losing their last two games and three of their last four to fall out of a playoff spot at ninth in the West.
The Stars fell to lowly Columbus 4-1 on Thursday. That game marked the return of goalie Kari Lehtonen, who made 25 saves in his first game back after missing 12 with a groin injury. Richard Bachman took over while Lehtonen was sidelined, making former Bruin Andrew Raycroft expendable. Raycroft was waived and assigned to Texas (AHL) upon Lehtonen's return.
The Stars do still have another ex-Bruin in the lineup, and forward Michael Ryder is making an impact in Dallas with 14-11-25 totals through 36 games.
The Bruins are optimistic they will get forward Rich Peverley back in the lineup on Saturday after he missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury. Despite Tuukka Rask's strong play while starting the last two games, Claude Julien has stated he plans to go back to Tim Thomas in goal for this one.
With Rask and Thomas ranked 1-2 in the NHL in save percentage and 1 and 3 in GAA, Julien can't really go wrong with either one between the pipes.
The last game between these clubs on Feb. 3 featured three fights in the opening four seconds and a fourth just moments later, while the Bruins and Stars also combined for 146 PIMs when they played back on Nov. 1, 2008. Will the bad blood continue in this clash?
The puck drops at 8 p.m., so check back here for updates on all the action.