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Stars and Panthers Clash for a Quick Two-Game Series

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The Stars and Panthers play the first of a back-to-back set tonight at the American Airlines Center.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Momentum is something that the Dallas Stars are familiar with. Last August the Stars entered the bubble in Edmonton on a six-game losing streak. Then they lost the next two games before riding the wave of momentum to the Stanley Cup Final. It was a last-minute goal by Joe Pavelski that sent the final round robin game with the St. Louis Blues to overtime. The Stars would win the game and start the momentum needed for the playoffs.

I’m not sure what will happen going forward, but if there’s ever a game that could be the St. Louis-like game for this season, it’s Thursday’s comeback win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dallas hasn’t won a game against the Lightning since the Stanley Cup Final last year. The Lightning has dominated almost every game so far. So, when they fell behind 2-0, you had a sense of “here we go again.”

You know the story, though. Dallas didn’t fold over and die. They didn’t give up and throw in the white towel. Quite the opposite. The Stars did what nobody thought they would do and the came back and beat the best goalie in the NHL: Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Like I said, we don’t know how the rest of the season is going to play out but we don’t have to wait long to see if Dallas can ride the wave of Thursday’s win. Tonight, the Florida Panthers are in town for a quick two-game series. Quick because both games will be played in two days.


Possible Line Combinations for Dallas

Jason Robertson (21) - Roope Hintz (24) - Joe Pavelski (16)
Jamie Benn (14) - Jason Dickinson (18) - Denis Gurianov (34)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Radek Faksa (12) - Blake Comeau (15)
Rhett Gardner (49) - Justin Dowling (37) - Joel L’Esperance (38)

Esa Lindell (23) - John Klingberg (3)
Jamie Oleksiak (2) - Miro Heiskanen (4)
Joel Hanley (44) - Mark Pysyk (13)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Anton Khudobin (35)


The Florida Panthers

The Panthers are struggling right now. After losing 3-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday, the Panthers have lost three games in a row and four of their last five.

That doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Quite the contrary, actually. Florida has 44 points and have won 20 of their 33 games. They have some dangerous weapons that can light it up too.

Led by Aleksander Barkov, who has 13 goals and 24 assists, Florida is currently a +13 in the goal differential department. Jonathan Huberdeau also has more than 30 points with 11 goals and 25 assists.


Possible Line Combinations for Florida

Frank Vatrano (77) - Alexander Wennberg (21) - Patric Hornqvist (70)
Jonathan Huberdeau (11) - Eetu Luostarinen (27) - Owen Tippett (74)
Mason Marchment (19) - Carter Verhaeghe (23) - Anthony Duclair (91)
Vinnie Hinostroza (13) - Noel Acciari (55)

MacKenzie Weeger (52) - Aaron Ekbland (5)
Keith Yandle (3) - Anton Stralman (6)
Gustav Forsling (42) - Radko Gudas (7)

Sergei Bobrovsky (72)
Chris Driedger (60)