The Dallas Stars were back in action after a day of licking their wounds after a dreadful 3-1 loss to the same Florida Panthers on Monday night. The weather layoff for the Stars did not help matters, and with a winless streak sitting at six games, the club was in desperate need of a win.
The Stars have relocated to Florida this week with one more tilt against the Florida Panthers tomorrow before flying to Tampa for a game Saturday. With the new condensed schedule for the Stars, it was critical that the team found the win column tonight for the first time in three weeks.
There were three lineup changes, the most notable with Roope Hintz coming out with a lower-body-injury. Tanner Kero was returned to the taxi squad and Ty Dellandrea was out as a healthy scratch.
The first minute for the Stars saw the club come out hard and angry, as they laid the body on the Panthers throughout the ice. The Stars’ efforts would pay off immediately as the physical play forced a turnover, which turned into a transition goal for John Klingberg. Klingberg would take a great pass, wind up from just inside the blue line and pound the puck behind the Panthers netminder.
After the Dallas goal the game settled into a predictable pattern, both teams punching and counter-punching. The two teams were also hard on the backcheck, taking away time and space from the attacking forwards. As Razor Reaugh mentioned on the broadcast, the Stars were playing with a noticeable edge to their game in the first ten minutes. The Stars’ hard play on the puck would pay off when Jason Dickinson drew a roughing penalty on Aaron Ekblad.
Dallas would fail to generate much of anything on the power play chance, although the team did establish some very solid zone time. The Stars would give the Panthers their first power play chance of the game when Jamie Benn found himself in the box. The Stars penalty kill was stretched out by the Panthers passing, however, the Panthers couldn’t hit the net with their shots. With less than 30 seconds left in the Benn minor, the Panthers evened the game at four-on-four when Alex Wennberg took a tripping minor. The four-on-four portion would expire handing Dallas their second power play of the afternoon.
The power play would move along, mostly without incident until the five second mark. Esa Lindell came into the lip of the crease, batting at the puck twice before Chris Driedger smothered the puck. The penalty minutes would continue to rack up in the game when the Stars found themselves shorthanded again following a scrum behind the Dallas net. Jamie Oleksiak and Radko Gudas would each take a matching minor penalty, with Jason Dickinson earning the extra minor.
Shots on Goal: Florida 15 - Dallas 8
Score: Florida 0 - Dallas 1
The Stars would begin the second period shorthanded, facing over 30 seconds of killing time. Dallas would kill the penalty by simply spending that time in the Florida end, denying the Panthers any chance to gain the Stars zone.
The first five minutes of the period elapsed without much to write home about, each team unable to establish anything that resembled meaningful zone time. Most of the chances in the early parts of the frame were off of the rush. However, with each rush chance, the goaltenders were able to swallow the puck to reset the play.
At the ten minute mark of the period the Stars were able to establish some decent zone time. After stacking a couple dangerous shifts together, the Panthers responded with one of their own. In front of Khudobin the Panthers came close to tying the hockey game three times in the sequence. Panthers Captain Alexander Barkov had the best chance when Khudobin, down and out, was bailed out when Barkov missed the net.
The Panthers had the best zone time of the period, hemming in the Stars for over a minute. The Panthers were aided by a Joe Pavelski broken stick, and preceded to pepper the Stars net with shot after shot. Eventually Khudobin made a sparkling safe to put an end to the threat, keeping the tie.
Shots on Goal: Florida 31 - Dallas 20
Score: Florida 0 - Dallas 1
The third period would start with a power play for the Stars pretty much right off the bat. Barkov would take a careless hooking penalty, however, the Stars would have a world of trouble setting up in the Florida zone. When the Stars did set up their power play it would be with the second unit. As the penalty expired a big rebound found its way to Esa Lindell’s stick who would snap the puck towards the net. The puck rocketed past Driedger to give the Stars the 2-0 advantage.
As was the trend in this hockey game, the minutes after the goal were mostly uneventful. The chances that did occur mostly occurred off of the rush, with very little zone time for either team. For Dallas, Khudobin kept coming up with save after save, his best a glove safe that he artfully made on a blistering shot off the rush.
At the ten minute mark of the period Radko Gudas would take another penalty, this time for interference, sending the Stars to another power play. It should be noted that the Panthers penalty kill is elite, suffocating the Stars power play expertly throughout the evening. In sticking with the theme of a suffocating kill the Panthers did just that through the first half of the Stars power play, never allowing the set to organize. The Panthers would successfully kill another Stars power play, sending the Stars to 0-for-4 for the night up to that point.
As was also another trend in this hockey game, when the Panthers took a penalty, the Stars responded with a penalty of their own. Joel Kiviranta would take an interference penalty, setting up a critical two minutes for the Stars penalty killers. Dallas would successfully kill the first minute of the power play before Florida was able to set up. Once Florida set up, the Stars were able to pressure the puck carrier, generating clearing opportunities. When the Panthers did fire a shot towards the net, Khudobin was there.
With 30 seconds left in the power play the Panthers pulled Driedger, giving them a 6-on-4 advantage for the rest of the set. Not only would the Stars survive the penalty kill, Joe Pavelski would find Kiviranta as he stepped out of the penalty box at center ice. Kiviranta would collect the puck, skate in, and deposit the puck into the empty net.
With the 3-0 win, the Stars’ record on the season is 6-4-4. Tune in when the Stars and Panthers do it all over again tomorrow night!