Good news, everyone! Anton Khudobin is back on his game, and he demonstrated it by stopping 49 shots – that’s forty-nine, with the 40 and the 9 – while facing a career-high 51 shots during the Dallas Stars’ latest outing with the Florida Panthers.
And yet the Stars lost, for the sixth time in a row, thanks to a shambolic second period in which they gave away their early lead and the eventual game-winner for good measure. Stars staff writer Mike Heika boils it down to a few key issues in his postgame piece:
“Our young players were overwhelmed and our veterans didn’t make a difference,” said Stars coach Rick Bowness.
Bowness said the Stars could have lost 8-1 if not for the strong play of Khudobin, who stopped 49 of 51 shots and allowed the Stars to pull the goalie late in an attempt to tie the game. It was a huge statement for the 34-year-old who had been struggling in previous starts, but came out of a long break with a fantastic outing.
“We wasted a great goaltending performance,” Bowness said. “I feel bad for Anton, that’s the best game he’s given us all year.”
Numbers don’t lie, and the numbers from last night...well:
Florida had a 29-4 advantage in shots on goal in the second period and a 41-5 advantage in shot attempts. The 29 shots against in a period is a franchise record, beating the 26 shots on goal against the Minnesota North Stars that was established three times, most recently in 1987. It was a mind-boggling number, but Khudobin kept the game 1-1 until late in the period, when Florida scored an unassisted goal against the Dallas checking line of [Blake] Comeau, Andrew Cogliano and Jason Dickinson.
“You look at that second goal,” Bowness said. “We have our checking line on the ice, we’re having a bad period, but we can get out of the period 1-1. And all of the sudden, we’re giving up an odd-man rush because three guys are behind the net.”...
“Were we rusty? Yep,” he said. “But if we had played the whole game the way we did in the first, where we thought we’d be rusty, we’d have been fine. But in the second period, we just kept passing the puck to them, and they’re a good team. A lot of it was self-inflicted problems.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
Can the Victory Green Gang make it out of February with one more win? Saad Yousuf has some thoughts.
The Stars got outshot in the second period last night 42-5.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) February 23, 2021
42. to. 5.
More on that horrendous period, Anton Khudobin’s magic, missing Radulov, why it’s not time yet to bury the Stars, bad PK and more Stars notes (at least Jason Robertson looks good!) https://t.co/mLxq3XMFst
Matthew DeFranks’ graphic speaks for itself, and it swears a lot. A lot.
Razor always has love for a great goalie performance, and Dobby’s is no exception.
"Anton Khudobin returns to his rubber-regurgitating best"— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 23, 2021
The Razorisms are real in ' pic.twitter.com/kyAbIGSgY1
There was good news from the forward corps as Jason Robertson extended his points streak.
Jason Robertson (@JasonRob1999) extended his point streak to five games to equal the longest such run by a rookie this season (also Ty Smith: 5 GP w/ NJD). It also matches the third-longest point streak by a @DallasStars rookie since 1993-94. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/W08eG7QMpo— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 23, 2021
And let us never forget John Klingberg’s first NHL fight.
Around The Leagues
- Jesper Fast scored twice, but the Tampa Bay Lightning still handed the Carolina Hurricanes their first home loss of the season, 4-2. [Canes Country]
ICYMI, the Columbus Blue Jackets are ready to welcome back the 5th Line – or at least a tenth of it.
And the New Jersey Devils are set to follow suit as of March 1.
The Montreal Canadiens have run into a rough patch of their own. Will their bench boss find himself on the hot stove as a result?
Sometimes the politics gets into your sports no matter what. Alexei Navalny supporter Artemi Panarin may be using this time to get his family out of Russia.
WILD story in NHL. Artemi Panarin takes leave of absence after his former KHL coach alleges the star beat up an 18 yr old girl in Latvia in 2011.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) February 22, 2021
NYR: "Clearly an intimidation tactic being used against him for being outspoken on recent political events." https://t.co/lGAfDQCEEK
Slava Malamud, who has been covering stories like this since the day before dirt, has offered tons of context on his Twitter feed. Here’s a sample.
Regarding the Panarin situation:— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) February 22, 2021
1) It may or may not be true (Lativan police records will tell)
2) There is NO DOUBT Nazarov's motivation is political
3) Nazarov may or may not be acting on his own accord
4) The likeliest motivation is to remove Panarin from the Olympic team.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The NHL mascots remind you that no one has more fun at an outdoor game than they do. Enjoy.