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Denis Gurianov Scores Shootout Winner To Give Dallas Stars 2-1 Win Over Florida Panthers

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The 2015 first round pick was all smiles as he buried one past James Reimer

2015 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Preseason games are not the sexiest games on the schedule. They are great for management who needs to be able to see who they have and how they are in game action. But everyone is shaking off the rust, chemistry is fleeting and hard to come by when lines change each game, and the crowd isn’t as into it as when the games really count.

Thus it was on this autumn evening in early October that we found ourselves watching an admittedly snooze-worthy first 40 minutes of hockey. Sure, both the Dallas Stars and the Florida Panthers had moments and flashes that got the crowd going. But for the most part, Dallas dominated play and couldn’t solve James Reimer, making them even where it really counts (the scoreboard) and giving the home crowd nothing to cheer for.

Florida would finally break the scoreless game in the third period when Niemi was pulled off to the side of the net and couldn’t get back across fast enough to stop a rebound shot.

The crowd did get some good chants going later in the third period, and you could see a noticeable uptick in the foot speed of the Stars players. While the Stars would not find the back of the net themselves, Patrick Eaves would put a puck out in front of Reimer’s net that bounced off of Vincent Trocheck for the Panthers’ second goal of the game – and a 1-1 score.

The Stars and Panthers would remain tied through the end of the third period and overtime, ending in a five round shootout. What started off as a slightly boring game turned into excitement, and the crowd showed their appreciation by cheering quite loudly for Denis Gurianov’s eventual game winning shootout goal. He soaked it all in, even signaling for the crowd to get louder as he went to the bench for celebratory fistbumps.

First Period

The Dallas Stars dominated possession in the first period, helping themselves to a 13-5 shot advantage. The Stars had the only power play opportunity in the period so the majority of their work came at even strength. Unfortunately for the Stars James Reimer stood tall to keep the Stars scoreless. Fortunately for the Panthers Reimer stood tall to keep the Stars scoreless, including one sequence where he pulled a Roberto Luongo and managed to magically keep several prime chances out of the net.

Florida only generated one or two dangerous looks on Antti Niemi, with one big breakaway opportunity as his biggest save of the period. For yet another preseason game, the Stars managed to limit the shots against. While that is easy to dismiss considering it is preseason and the Stars have not faced a full NHL roster yet, the Panthers had quite a few of their NHL regulars in the lineup tonight. A game or two can be written off as a fluke, but this is starting to look like a trend.

Second Period

Much of the same in the third period, as the Stars continued to outshoot the Panthers by a nearly 2-to-1 margin through most of the first half of the period. Both teams started to commit those obstruction penalties that are common in middle frames, when the long change sometimes catches players out on the ice longer than usual waiting for a safe time to make a change.

The goaltenders each traded some big save moments, and both teams escaped unscathed through the second period without giving up a goal on the man advantage. That is both a positive and a negative for the Stars, though. A positive in the sense that the penalty kill did some good work. A negative in that the Stars don’t seem to be converting on the man advantage as often as their system should probably allow for.

The Stars and Panthers would remain tied through the end of the third period and overtime, ending in a five round shootout. What started off as a slightly boring game turned into excitement, and the crowd showed their appreciation by cheering quite loudly for Denis Gurianov’s eventual game winning shootout goal. He soaked it all in, even signaling for the crowd to get louder as he went to the bench for celebratory fistbumps.

Third Period

Florida finally broke the scoreless game on a really good pass through the crease with Niemi playing the shot from the opposite angle. While the Stars would not find the back of the net themselves for their first of the night, Patrick Eaves would put a puck out in front of Reimer’s net that bounced off of Vincent Trocheck for the Panthers’ second goal of the game – and a 1-1 score.

There Was A Shootout

Eaves tried to go fivehole and was denied. Niemi didn’t fall for the Forsberg move and made a stop. Jamie Benn tried a hard shot to go straight through Reimer and was denied. Trocheck also tried the Forsberg move and got Niemi out of position – and then clanged it right off the post. Ully put one right into the chest of Reimer with no success. Reilly Smith, ex-Dallas Star, tried to shoot one fivehole on Niemi and was unsuccessful. John Klingberg came in with speed then slowed down, got Reimer to bite but missed the glove side net. Denis Malgin lost his chance. Gurianov shot one hard fivehole on Reimer for his first NHL shootout goal. It ended up being the game winner.

A few other observations:

*Niemi was not tested often early in the first period, with the first shot against coming after over five minutes into the first period. He did play very aggressively on the top of his crease on a Greg McKegg breakaway about two-thirds of the way through the first frame.

*Patrick Eaves, who still has a playoff beard that many would be envious of, and Johnny Oduya were the designated alternate captains tonight.

*Cole Ully committed two back-to-back penalties in the middle frame, the first of which pulled Dallas off of the man advantage and the second of which put them on the kill. Jordie Benn doubled down on the Stars’ ability to kill penalties by committing a tripping and giving the Panthers over a minute of 5-on-3 power play time. Luckily the Stars repaid his faith in them by killing the entirety of both penalties.

*Denis Gurianov looked a lot more comfortable tonight, and registered the best chance in overtime for Dallas.

*Jamie Benn wasn’t overly physical in his first preseason game tonight. That’s not necessarily a complaint, as the Stars definitely do not need to have more injuries and/or have someone reaggravate an existing injury. It seemed more like he was being cautious and feeling the game out a bit, but outside of laying up on a few instances where he might normally lay a hit, the Captain didn’t look bad tonight. He was second on the team in shots on goal through the first two periods. One thing he did not do that he normally does in the season is kill penalties. Probably a safe bet for Lindy Ruff not to use him in that situation in the preseason.

*For yet another game, the Stars did a pretty good job of limiting the shots against through the first two periods. Now if they can figure out a way to apply that into the third period, they’ll have many more successes than failures this season.

*Can the shorthanded breakaway chances get cleaned up before the season begins? The power play is only deadly if teams know they won’t have the chance to score on them also.