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A Late Comeback Is Not Enough, Stars Lose 4-5 in Florida

Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Following closely on the heels of Monday night’s unfortunate game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Dallas Stars stuck around in the Sunshine State to face off against the Florida Panthers. This is the first of two meetings between the teams.

Historically, the teams have split decisions pretty evenly, but only some of that history included Sam Reinhart, who is in a four way tie for second most number of goals in the NHL. (This changed during the game, by the way, when he scored against the Stars.) And their goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, is currently in a three way tie for third most number of wins (11).

It may have been a while since you checked, but the Stars aren’t in the top five of anything at the moment, though they are still number 2 in the central.

First Period

Five minutes into the first period, when the Stars have 6 shots on goal and the Panthers have exactly zero, Evan Rodrigues sneaks behind the Dallas defenders and gets the long pass from Niko Mikkola.

A long eight minutes later, in which the Panthers do nothing but get shots on goal while the Stars chase the puck behind them, the Panthers turn the puck over in the neutral zone. Thomas Harley dumps the puck into the offensive zone and Sam Steel’s pass finds Radek Faksa alone in front of the net.

Brandon Montour and Craig Smith took matching minors (one for holding the stick and one for high sticking, against each other).

Then with under two minutes left to go in the period, the Panthers play tic-tac-toe in the Stars defensive zone. Sam Reinhart gets the rebound off the end boards and catches Oettinger in the middle of a scramble.

Shots: Stars 11, Panthers 11
Goals: Stars 1, Panthers 2

Second Period

The Panthers opened the second period with violence, scoring 23 seconds into the period off a turnover deep in their end.

Mercifully, that is where the scoring ended for the Panthers in the second period, but the Stars weren’t able to make anything of the two power play opportunities they were given.

And the Stars weren’t playing poorly, either, despite some frustrating turnovers. After two periods, their expected goals are higher than the Panthers, which is the measurement of the statistical chance of an unblocked shot becoming a goal.

Shots: Stars 24, Panthers 22
Goals: Stars 1, Panthers 3

Third Period

Okay buckle up, this one was wild.

In the first thirty seconds, Sam Bennett took a two minute minor for roughing. The Stars won the face off, Miro Heiskanen slapped the puck in from the top of the zone to Matt Duchene, who looked like he was trying to control the pass and shoot it himself, but it bounced over to Marchment, who Bobrovsky was not ready for.

Four minutes later, former Florida Panther Evgenii Dadanov redirected a shot from Jani Hakanpaa, and we had a tie game for the second time this evening.

Then Florida got the lead back with a wild bounce behind Oettinger. Reinhart shot the puck and it deflected into the back boards and bounced back, but Oettinger (and, clearly, none of the other Stars on the ice) did not have a clear idea of where it had bounced to, which Aleksander Barkov took advantage of.

A nice reminder to chant in games like this is that all reffing regresses to a mean, as terrible as it feels at the time. The call against Sam Steel was so weak that even the TNT commentary mentioned it, but it stood. And because it stood, Rodrigues had the opportunity to score his second of the night.

Tyler Seguin was the worst part of a three player sandwich against the boards and missed some time in the third, but was back on the ice to close out the game.

Another penalty to Florida, and Thomas Harley scored to bring the Stars back within one.

Unfortunately, anything more for the Stars was not meant to be, despite an actually really good period with six attackers after Oettinger left the net late in the period.

Shots: Stars 33, Panthers 31
Goals: Stars 4, Panthers 5

TL;DR

It looked worse than it really was, given underlying numbers, but the Stars still lost again in Florida, and head out for another game tomorrow night.