Alexander Radulov scored twice and added an assist and Ben Bishop made 33 saves to lead the Dallas Stars to a 6-1, fight-filled rout over the Florida Panthers at the American Airlines Center.
James Reimer stopped three shots before leaving the game 3:48 into the first period with a lower-body injury after he tried to stop a shot, that went wide, with Antoine Roussel screening. After Reimer went down, Keith Yandle promptly dropped the gloves with Roussel, the first of four bouts in a penalty-filled opening period.
Devin Shore scored the only goal of the frame at the 15:45 mark by just getting a piece of John Klingberg’s shot from above the right circle with his blade to get it past Harri Sateri. Esa Lindell picked up the second assist on the power-play goal.
The Stars doubled its lead 6:43 into the second when Radulov found Jamie Benn with a spectacular, no-look pass and he shoveled a backhander by Sateri for his 20th goal. The secondary assist on the play went to Greg Pateryn.
Dallas struck for a second power-play goal when Jason Spezza fed Radulov a back-door pass for an easy put-away 3:14 later. Tyler Seguin drew the second assist for finding Spezza found down low. The goal came with Micheal Haley (cross checking) and Vincent Trocheck (tripping) sitting in the sin bin.
Aaron Ekblad notched the only Florida goal of the night at 15:47 with the Cats on a power play. Denis Malgin’s shot from the top of the right circle was stopped by Bishop, but Nick Bjugstad was able to push the rebound over to Ekblad, who hit the yawning net.
Mattias Janmark converted Klingberg’s cheeky dish with a one-timer from in tight 5:16 into the third period to quash any chance of a Panthers comeback. Shore carried the puck into the Florida zone and handed it off to the Swedish defenseman to get his second point of the tilt.
Radulov joined Benn in the 20-goal club when he got loose on a breakaway after Ekblad coughed up the puck and then made matters worse by falling down at his own blue line. The 31-year-old sped down the ice and slid the puck under Sateri for the unassisted tally.
Tyler Pitlick completed the scoring twenty seconds later when he moved into the wide-open slot to receive and bury a nice pass from Roussel, who kept away from MacKenzie Weegar. Veteran Dan Hamhuis collected the secondary assist on Pitlick’s ninth.
After surviving the first period without Reimer, the Panthers crumbled the rest way. Dallas simply shredded the Cats to pieces, making the final forty minutes a nightmare for Sateri, while Florida’s top guns were silent, with the trio of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov combining for just three shots on goal. Each one of the three forwards finished with a -3 rating. The only silver lining is the Panthers have just one game left, against Washington, before the All-Star break. Hopefully, this buys enough time for either Reimer or Luongo to return. This team can’t go forward with Sateri as the starter for any extended period of time.
Full Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)
Giants & Dwarfs
- Alexander Radulov hit the 20-goal mark for the second time in his NHL career. Radulov scored 26 in 2007-08 when he was a member of the Nashville Predators.
- Jamie Benn has scored at least 20 goals in each of the eight full NHL seasons he has played.
- Micheal Haley racked up 39 PIM before he was ejected in the second period. Haley leads the league with 131 PIM.
- Speaking of ejections, Alex Petrovic was tossed in the first. Petrovic totaled 17 PIM while logging just 3:57 TOI.
- Harri Sateri finished with 30 saves in his third NHL appearance since being recalled from AHL Springfield.
- John Klingberg took over as the Stars leading scorer. Klingberg has 48 points, one better than Benn and Radulov.
- Defending Big D has the other side of last night’s very ugly affair.