The Dallas Stars scored three times in the first 9:03 and cruised to a 4-1 victory over the listless Florida Panthers.
Jason Robertson opened the scoring just a minute into the game, finishing off a pretty passing play involving Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski after a Gustav Forsling turnover.
Joel L’Esperance added on 49 seconds later, elevating a cross from Justin Dowling over Sergei Bobrovsky on a 2-on-1 break after Eetu Luostarinen couldn’t reel in a pass from Keith Yandle in the neutral zone. Luostarinen was open, why Yandle put the pass in the air instead of on the ice, I don’t know...
The two opening goals were the Stars’ fastest since November 19, 1992 when the Minnesota North Stars scored twice in the first 66 seconds of a 4-1 road win over Tampa Bay.
Jamie Benn’s power-play goal with Radko Gudas serving a boarding minor capped off the torrid half-period span. Benn took Pavelski’s pass off his skate and quickly fired it home from the slot before Bobovsky could react. Hintz also picked up his second assist of the tilt on Benn’s eighth.
Robertson would complete the scoring the with an unassisted goal 1:21 into the third to put a dagger into any comeback hopes the Cats might have been entertaining.
Aleksander Barkov came up with Florida’s only goal, on a power play, with time about to elapse in the second period when he jammed in Patric Hornqvist’s wraparound attempt/centering feed after Frank Vatrano’s one-timer deflected up in the air off Anton Khudobin’s glove and went behind the net. Barkov is now tied with linemate Carter Verhaeghe for the team lead in goals at 17.
Great work getting that goal before the 3rd. Keep chipping away! ⛏️— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) April 10, 2021
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Khudobin finished the game with 20 saves, his best stops were on Verhaeghe and Alex Wennberg in the opening frame, while Bobrovsky turned away 16 of 20 shots in the defensive affair.
The Panthers are struggling mightily on this road trip that has seen them drop three straight to start. They have only mustered up three goals and all of them have come off the stick of Barkov. Where is the rest of the team, especially Jonathan Huberdeau who finished the game with two shots on goal and -2 rating? The Cats looked a bit punch drunk after dropping two key games in Raleigh and were not able to match the starting intensity of the hungry Stars, who are playing for their playoff lives right now. This is something the Panthers need to realize, some of the teams they’ve feasted on thus far are now at their most desperate, and it will take a much better, and cleaner, effort to beat them. And it’s time to ditch the 11F and 7D alignment... It’s not working.
Giants & Dwarfs
- Aleksander Barkov has recorded at least one point in six of his past seven games played, amassing nine points (5G/4A) over that span. Since returning to the lineup from injury on April 3, Barkov has registered four goals and six points in five games. Barkov led the Cats with 22:52 TOI and won 14 of his 26 faceoffs (54%).
- Florida held Dallas to 20 shots on goal, their fewest shots against in a game this season, and to three shots on goal in the third period, tied for fewest shots against in a period this season.
- Carter Verhaeghe, Gustav Forsling and Barkov led the Cats with four shots each. Ryan Lomberg led the team with five hits.
- Joel L’Esperance collected his first game-winner in the NHL. Both of the 25-year-old’s goals this season have come against the Panthers
- Patric Hornqvist has produced three assists over his past five games.
- For the flip side of Florida’s third straight loss, visit Defending Big D.