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Barkov goal gives Panthers 5-4 overtime win over Stars

Knight goes to 4-0 and makes a little NHL history

Dallas Stars v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Aleksander Barkov launched a rising one-timer over the shoulder of reliever Jake Oettinger 2:50 into overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars at the BB&T Center.

The power-play goal came after Barkov won an offensive zone draw and Keith Yandle exchanged passes with MacKenzie Weegar before faking a shot and sending the puck over to the unmarked pivot in the right circle.

Barkov’s team-leading 26th goal earned the Panthers the full two points after they coughed up a 4-2 third period lead.

The Cats got off to a fast start, serving early notice to the desperate Stars that they weren’t going to take this game lightly, despite missing the red-hot Sam Bennett and going with their greenest goaltender.

Jonathan Huberdeau’s pretty backhand finish of Owen Tippett’s pass on a 2-on-1 break, ignited by Yandle, gave Florida the lead on their first shot of the game at the 1:53 mark.

Nikita Gusev bagged another 49 seconds later when he kicked Brandon Montour’s rebound onto his blade and whacked a backhand shot past Khudobin. The late season pickup, who was cut loose by the New Jersey Devils, now has goals in consecutive games.

Dallas halved the deficit a 12:04 with Huberdeau off for holding Andrew Cogliano. Jason Robertson fed Roope Hintz, and he went down low to Joe Pavelski, who had plenty of time, space and net to work with in beating Spencer Knight. Too easy...

The rest of the first period scoring belonged to Weegar. He restored Florida’s two-goal advantage when he took a drop pass from Tippett on a 3-on-3 rush and fired home from the high slot at 14:13. Grigori Denisenko combined with his fellow former first-rounder to set the play up.

Weegar gave the goal back 3:03 later when under heavy pressure from a buzzing Hintz, he did his best Steve Smith impersonation and passed the puck off of Knight and into his own net. Oops... Calder candidate Robertson was credited with the goal.

The Panthers came up with the only goal of the middle frame 45 seconds in with Gustav Forsling tallying thanks to the fine efforts of Barkov and Denisenko. Barkov won a loose puck to get the Cats into the Dallas zone and got it to Denisenko. The rookie moved down the left boards and behind the net, where he outworked two Stars before returning to the corner and finding Forsling, who stepped up and drove a one-timer by a reaching Khudobin, which brought Oettinger in from the bench,

Oettinger stopped 12 shots in the second and 9 more in the third to help earn his needy team a point.

Joel Kiviranta finished off a rush by converting Tanner Kero’s backhand pass at 3:55, second assist to Jamie Oleksiak, and Tyler Seguin, playing in his game of the season, deflected Dennis Gurianov’s high shot down and off Knight’s skate and then backhanded the rebound by his outstretched leg to tie the game 11 seconds later.

Knight shrugged off the quick salvo and shut it down the rest of the way and the Cats completely dominated the extra session by outshooting the Stars 7-0 to get the win, finishing the season series against last year’s Stanley Cup runner-up with a 6-2 record. The 13th overall pick in the 2019 draft stopped 25 of 29 shots and upped his record to 4-0. At 20 years, 14 days, he is the youngest goaltender in NHL history to begin their career with 4-0 record.

The Panthers improved to 35-14-5 and 9-2-1 over their past 12 games. With Carolina posting a win over Chicago last night, it looks like the Cats are all but locked into a first round meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Currently down by two points, but holding two games in hand, the Bolts have a better shot at home ice advantage. The Cats, who get four days off to rest, might have to beat the Lightning twice to finish out the season and host the first two games of the series and a potential game seven at BB&T Center. Dallas could help out greatly in this regard by winning one or two of their games with Tampa Bay during the week, making Florida’s path to second place a little easier.

Giants & Dwarfs

  • Florida’s ten overtime wins are the most among all NHL teams in 2020-21 as well as the most in franchise history in a single season.
  • Aleksander Barkov scored his second overtime game-winner of the season, and the sixth of his career. His six career overtime goals are now the second-most in club history. Barkov also notched his 30th assist of the season, marking his sixth consecutive season with at least 20 goals and 30 assists.
  • With two helpers, Grigori Denisenko registered his first career multi-point game. He has posted an assist in each of his past three games.
  • Keith Yandle also produced two assists, leaving him one point shy of his 600th NHL point.
  • Jonathan Huberdeau notched his 19th goal of the season. He has produced five goals and 17 points over his past 12 games.
  • Tyler Seguin registered three shots on goal, two hits and one block in 17:09 TOI in his season debut. John Klingberg picked up the secondary assist on Seguin’s game-tying goal.
  • For more on the season series finale, touch down on Defending Big D.

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