In what was deemed to be as close to a "dress rehearsal" as we might get this preseason (Tuesday's game may be another) the Dallas Stars came back from three goals down to beat the Florida Panthers, 5-4.
It was an up and down game for the Stars, who appeared to come out of the locker with their skates stuck in mud and found themselves down 3-0 just two minutes in the second period. The Stars allowed too many chances in tight around Lehtonen and too many players were allowed to skate uncontested to the net, and the vaunted speed of the Stars was nowhere to be found through the first 23 minutes of the game.
And then Tyler Seguin and company took over.
The top two lines of the Stars, recently remade with the additions of Ales Hemsky and Jason Spezza, were dominant throughout the second period as the Stars outscored the Panthers 3-0 with goals by Seguin, Valeri Nichushkin and Spezza. It started with Seguin sending a blind pass into the slot to Nichushkin to open the scoring for Dallas, followed by a wicked slap shot from the slot by Spezza that bullied its way past Luongo.
The best goal of the game came late in the second, when Nichushkin stole a puck at the point and found Seguin all alone in front of Luongo -- who then proceeded to deke the veteran goalie out of his pads to tie the game.
The Stars would slow down a bit in the third period and then seemed to lose all momentum when Kari Lehtonen went out of the game after a collision with Nick Bjugstad -- it appeared as though Jamie Oleksiak drilled the Panthers forward into Lehtonen, who was then hit up high and stayed down for a moment before leaving the ice.
Anders Lindback stepped in as backup, and allowed the go-ahead goal on a shot from distance.
The Stars power play, which has looked much better the past few games, got another chance late in the third and cashed in when Seguin's blast from the point deflected in front and past Luongo. The Stars immediately went back on the power play and made the Panthers pay, as Seguin roofed a shot past Luongo for the hat trick and his fourth point of the night.
The Stars finish up the preseason on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.