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Dallas Stars Take Florida Panthers to OT, Win 4-3; Preseason Record At 4-1

One has to wonder if the heat down in Florida was affecting the guys tonight after they seemed sluggish and flat in the first period. After all, Brenden Dillon did tweet that Miami was almost as hot as Dallas (emphasis on the almost part.) Despite three powerplay opportunities in the first period, the Dallas Stars couldn't get much offense generated, ending the first period with only 7 combined shots on goal. For as many times as they had the man advantage, that's a bit of a weak shots on goal total.

It's been said that Coach Gulutzan is pretty good at making mid-game changes when things don't seem to be working. It showed in the second period, with the Stars coming out and getting more quality scoring chances. In what feels like forever, Tomas Vincour finally managed to follow through and score his first preseason goal. He's looked so dangerous this preseason, it was nice to finally see it pay off for the young Czech. Loui Eriksson added his own even strength goal, taking a 2-1 lead over the reeling Panthers. To add an exclamation point to the period, Tobey Petersen capped the Stars scoring with a shorthanded goal less than two minutes before the end of the middle frame.

Then came the third period. It was thought that third period meltdowns were a thing of the past...

Continued after the jump.

...Well, when you spend the majority of the third on the penalty kill (sometimes down two guys even) you're going to have goals scored against you. Just how much time did Dallas spend on the PK during the third period? If the shots on goal is any indication, a lot. Dallas was outshot 26-3. In the third period.

The amount of penalties committed in the past couple of preseason games is a little disconcerting. Hopefully it is a function of getting the rust brushed off and getting the silly penalties out of the system of the players. This is something that should be tightened up over the last handful of preseason games coming up. It would be preferable not to have a third period such as this ever again:

3rd Period
04:53 DAL Alex Goligoski : Interference – 2 min
07:01 DAL Alex Goligoski : Interference – 2 min
07:53 DAL Sheldon Souray : Roughing – 2 min

07:53 FLA Tomas Kopecky : Roughing – 2 min
08:25 DAL Toby Petersen : Holding the stick – 2 min
09:30 DAL Alex Goligoski : Fighting (maj) – 5 min

09:30 FLA Kris Versteeg : Fighting (maj) – 5 min
12:23 DAL Ryan Garbutt : Boarding (maj) – 5 min
12:23 FLA Erik Gudbranson : Roughing – 2 min
12:23 DAL Ryan Garbutt : Game misconduct – 0 min
12:38 DAL Mike Ribeiro : Slashing – 2 min
12:38 DAL Mike Ribeiro : Unsportsmanlike conduct – 2 min

Mike Reibeiro had enough heading into overtime, setting up a sweet 2-on-1 pass for Michael Ryder to finish it and get the game winner only about a minute into overtime. It could be argued, however, that the game never should have gotten to that point. Being more disciplined in the third period would go a long way to reducing those third period meltdowns -- after all, a conga line to the penalty box is a pretty good way to let the other team get back into the game.

A few other notes:

  • Kari Lehtonen had plenty of work tonight, seeing a total of 46 shots and stopping 43 of them. With as much work as he got tonight, it may have an influence on the game plan for Thursday's game against the Panthers at the AAC. Will the Stars start him for the full game as planned, or could he see reduced minutes in that game because of the amount of shots faced tonight?
  • Stars fans are probably going to hear a lot of "Ribeiro to Ryder, he shoots he scores!" this season. The two seem to have picked up their chemistry from Montreal once more and appear to be clicking. Adding in Morrow's presence on the other wing and his setup in front of the net and that's the making of a pretty nice top line.
  • Alex Goligoski dropped the gloves tonight against Kris Versteeg. It's something that you probably don't want your (arguably) best defensemen to do -- if at all -- when the regular season rolls around. Brenden Dillon also had a fight tonight, and apparently landed some pretty hard-hitting haymakers. To say the game was chippy would be understating it a bit.
  • Jake Dowell had two assists tonight while logging only 14:09 of ice time. That kind of offense on what is projected to be a third or fourth line guy for the Stars is a very welcome sight. Another solid outing for him, he has been pretty noticeable (in a good way) several times this preseason.
  • Adam Pardy (8:27) and Stephane Robidas (7:59) lead the team in shorthanded time on ice (SHTOI). That is unreal amounts of shorthanded time.