Joe Pavelski puts on the breaks before firing it five-hole, while Braden Holtby shut down Anton Lundell to give the Stars the win
What a way to come back from a lengthy break in the schedule.
After 17 days between games, the Stars delivered a thrilling 6-5 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers in an instant classic in front of 17,678 at American Airlines Center on Thursday.
Dealt with scheduling postponements and a COVID outbreak that sidelined 11 players at one point, the Stars returned to action against one of the best teams in the NHL.
And, true to form, the Stars found a way to beat a high-caliber team on home ice. They snapped Florida’s four-game winning streak and erased three separate one-goal deficits.
Though they didn’t keep the Panthers off the scoresheet (they entered the game with 24 goals in their past four games), Braden Holtby delivered a 37-save effort to keep the Stars alive.
The veteran netminder was busy all night, stopping 18 of 19 shots in the first period and 29 of 33 through 40 minutes. He turned aside eight of nine in the third and thwarted both Panthers attempts in the shootout to lift the Stars to their third straight victory and a 16-12-2 record overall.
Five different players scored in regulation for the Stars, including Denis Gurianov, who tied a career high with three points (one goal, two assists). The speedy winger was a force in all three zones and earned the game’s No. 1 star.
Michael Raffl, Jason Robertson, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn rounded out the scoring in regulation. Joe Pavelski and Robertson scored goals in the shootout while Holtby stopped Jonathan Huberdeau and Anton Lundell.
The game featured six goals in the second period alone and 10 in all.
The Panthers opened the scoring way back at the 8:28 mark of the first period when Aleksander Barkov wired a one-timer home on the power play for his 13th goal of the season. It marked the 12th consecutive regulation period in which the Panthers recorded a goal.
Dallas evened the score a little more than four minutes later when Raffl got a piece of John Klingberg’s point shot for his fourth goal of the season.
Barkov regained the lead for Florida with a shorthanded tally just 18 seconds into the second period off a sloppy turnover from the Stars, but Gurianov responded less than two minutes later when he buried a loose puck behind Sergei Bobrovsky to even the score on the power play.
Patric Hornqvist restored a one-goal lead for Florida with a tip-in goal off a Gustav Forsling point shot less than three minutes later, but the Stars responded in resounding fashion.
They scored twice in a 28-span with goals from Robertson and Seguin to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. Robertson’s goal came off a point shot that changed direction as it sailed towards the net, while Seguin’s was a beautiful deke reminiscent of the goal he scored last May in Florida.
Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar tied the game less than five minutes later with a shot from the top of the right dot.
Benn restored Dallas’ lead at the 6:26 mark of the third, but Huberdeau tied it with just 28.5 seconds left in regulation.
Somehow, neither club scored in overtime.