The Dallas Stars hosted the Florida Panthers at home in the American Airlines center tonight for the first of a pair of games this weekend. This is the fourth of eight games for the two teams. The Stars Florida road trip had the Stars dropping two of three games in four days to the Panthers.
The Stars hosted the Panthers’ neighboring team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, earlier this week. The Lightning took the first game, but the Stars had a crucial come-from-behind win on Thursday night off a heroic late-game goal from Roope Hintz.
The Panthers have had a harder time of it recently. They dropped a 2-1 decision against the Nashville Predators, and have lost three of four games since.
The Stars are without Hintz tonight due to a nagging lower-body injury, and still without Alexander Radulov, out on a lower-body injury, or Ben Bishop and Tyler Seguin, both out on long-term injured reserve. The Panthers are without team captain Aleksander Barkov tonight, out with a lower-body injury.
The Stars found themselves in a hole early as the Panthers scored on the first shot of the game, about 24 seconds in. The Stars turned it over in the offensive and Noel Acciari broke down the ice into the Stars zone. He lost the puck but Carter Verhaeghe was there to pick it up and caught Anton Khudobin flat-footed.
The Stars tied it up eight minutes into the period. Jamie Benn had the puck behind the net and got a centering pass out to Denis Gurianov.
Less than two minutes later, on a great shift from the Faksa line, the Panthers couldn’t clear the puck out. Esa Lindell found John Klingberg at the point who scored on a shot from the top of the zone.
The late period was all about the Florida Panthers as the Stars gave them two power play opportunities and also gave Verhaeghe his second of the night. The Panthers won an offensive zone face-off and the Stars were unable to clear.
Shots: Dallas 8, Florida 9
Score: Dallas 2, Florida 2
Faksa went off for hooking early in the period, giving the Panthers their third power play of the game.
The Stars struggled with puck handling this period, holding onto the puck on shots longer than is truly necessary, and missed connections on passes. Panther goalie Sergei Bobrovsky lost his stick in the corner and the Stars weren’t able to get a shot off. They finally got a power play on a tripping call against Gustav Forsling, but the Stars weren’t able to convert the man-advantage. With Radulov, Hintz, and Seguin all out, the Stars really only have the one power play unit, so they’re already coming in at a deficit.
The closest the Stars came to scoring in the second period was a doorstep deflection from Joe Pavelski, but was ultimately robbed by Bobrovsky. They were given another opportunity on the power play when Brett Connolly visited the box for attempting to decapitate Joel Hanley with his hockey stick, but instead of scoring, the Stars allowed Verghaeghe to complete his hat trick on a very badly timed turnover from Miro Heiskanen.
Shots: Dallas 16, Florida 20
Score: Dallas 2, Florida 3
Fun fact from the Athletic’s Saad Yousuf that he shared on Twitter in the third: the Stars have not won a game in 2021 when they trailed going into the third period.
The Stars tied the game up three minutes into the third period on a tip in from Joel L’Esperance from Joel Hanley.
The Stars got another opportunity on the power play when Riley Stillman went to the box off a hooking penalty against Jason Dickinson, but it ended up not doing much for the Stars offensively, and they failed to take advantage.
This goal from L’Esperance remained the only goal from either team in the third period, despite the fact that the Stars tried very, very hard to win. They almost tripled the Panthers shots on goal and really drove most of the play in the third period. However, it wasn’t enough to win the game in 60 minutes, and to overtime they went.
Shots: Dallas 27, Florida 24
Score: Dallas 3, Florida 3
Khudobin held on to a really close chance from Verhaeghe and Jonathan Huberdeau. The Stars had so many chances in the final two minutes of overtime, including getting Bobrovsky out of the net for three to five seconds. Instead, an odd-man rush from Aaron Ekblad got the game-winner. The goal was reviewed by the league for a possible off-sides, and the goal was then ultimately overturned.
Overtime is wild y'all— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 28, 2021
Unfortunately, the Panthers scored a second time on a breakaway from Verhaeghe and Huberdeau, and there was no question about this goal being good.
The Stars have tonight to regroup before facing the Panthers tomorrow for an early 5 pm CST puck drop.
Shots: Dallas 33, Florida 27
Score: Dallas 3, Florida 4