As fire rained down from the sky and plagues of locusts ate all the crops, the Dallas Stars' 2015-2016 season was effectively ended in an apocalyptic fashion with a 3-2 preseason loss to the Florida Panthers.
Well...maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration.
The Stars looked rusty for most of the game and were certainly outplayed, but since it was their first preseason game the outcome, win or lose, should obviously be taken with a grain of salt. Both teams iced young rosters with few bonafide NHLers, although the Panthers went with more of a veteran roster.
Tyler Seguin and Jason Demers had the Stars goals, while Jonathan Huberdeau (twice) and Nick Bjugstad scored for Florida. Jack Campbell played the whole game in net for Dallas and stopped 32 out of 35 shots.
The boxscore can be found on NHL.com.
Huberdeau opened the scoring for Florida in the first period after John Klingberg's breakout pass went off Devin Shore's skate, leaving Huberdeau all alone in front of Campbell. Campbell bit a little too hard, allowing Huberdeau to slide the puck around him. He extended the Panthers lead to 2-0 early in the second period after Klingberg got caught pinching in the neutral zone.
After the Panthers upped their lead to 3-0 in the third period Seguin immediately got one back for the Stars, hammering home a very determined slapshot. Demers had a great shift and ricocheted a puck into the net to cut the lead to one in the game's final minutes but it wasn't quite enough.
The two teams also played five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime as an exhibition at the end of regulation, even though the Panthers had already won the game. Mattias Janmark would end things a few shifts in after a Panthers player broke his stick.
Some observations from the game:
- Campbell had a promising game in net. He guessed wrong on the opening goal and would probably like to have that third goal back, but overall he was very aggressive while still remaining focused and poised. He also made a nice save on Bjugstad on a penalty shot. He looked like a player with a chip on his shoulder, which was nice to see.
- Jamie Oleksiak played on the top defense pairing with Klingberg, logging a lot of minutes, and looked good doing it. He was leveraging his size to push Panthers players around and made an excellent pinch in the third to sustain some dangerous offensive zone time. He'll need to have those types of games consistently if he wants to draw into the Stars' lineup on a regular basis this season.
- Jason Dickinson was flying all night long and made something positive happen on almost all of his shifts, including assisting on the Demers goal. He played a lot of time on the penalty kill and looked like a player much older and more mature than his 20 year-old age. Very impressive.
- Janmark looked good, but also took two minor penalties in the second period. It might seem like a small thing, but those kind of mistakes could be all it takes to end his chances of making the Stars out of training camp. There's little room for error when there's so much competition for so few spots.
- Antoine Roussel had seven hits and a couple of penalties. So he was already in regular season form.
- Valeri Nichushkin is going to be ridiculous to watch in 3-on-3 play. Just throwing that out there right now.