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Big W in Big D! Panthers rally to beat Stars 4-3

Mar 12, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) watches as center Aleksander Barkov (not pictured) scores the game winning goal against Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers rallied from three goals down with three in third to pull out an improbable 4-3 victory over the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Dallas opened the scoring 3:53 into the game when Joe Pavelski finished off a 2-on-0 break by taking a pass from Jason Robertson and firing the puck between the wickets of Sergei Bobrovsky. An ill-advised pinch by Dmitry Kulikov with all three Panthers forwards trapped down low allowed the Stars to go the other way after Robertson chipped the puck past the defenseman to Wyatt Johnston, who got the secondary assist.

Bobrovsky would make a magnificent glove save on Logan Stankoven thirty seconds later to keep the Stars from adding on.

The home side would eventually go up by two 7:48 into the second. Robertson got the goal by knocking home a rebound after Bobrovsky denied Jamie Benn’s low shot and Gustav Forsling blocked Pavelski’s follow-up attempt with Kulikov off for holding.

Johnston tipped former Panther Mason Marchment’s shot down and past Bobrovsky after a Brandon Montour turnover to extend the lead a mere 23 seconds after Robertson’s tally.

Florida finally got on board at 12:52 with Marchment sitting in the sin bin. The Cats worked their patented triangular passing with Aleksander Barkov feeding to Matthew Tkachuk, who quickly bumped the puck into the slot for Sam Reinhart. Johnston got a piece of Reinhart’s shot, causing it to flutter over Jake Oettinger, giving Samson his 26th power-play goal of the campaign.

With time becoming a factor, the Panthers struck for a second power-play marker at 11:09 of the third to pull within a goal. After taking a pass from Montour, Carter Verhaeghe unleashed a wrist shot from above the left circle that Barkov lightly brushed by Oettinger.

The Cats evened it up with six minutes left in regulation when Tkachuk took a return pass from Forsling, while switching positions with him, and let go of a shot from near the blue line that Sam Bennett, who won the draw that started things off, deflected in while crashing the net. Purrfect execution!

Barkov would get his second of the night 38 ticks later, after Tkachuk drew a tripping call on Chris Tanev. After winning the ensuing faceoff off the boards to himself, Verhaeghe played catch with Montour before crossing to Barkov in the right circle. Barkov then sent a hard pass meant for Tkachuk off the skate of Esa Lindell into the back of the net for the game-winner.

After giving up more than two goals for the first time since January 19th, Bobrovsky hung in there and finished with 27 saves, including this absolute gem on Matt Duchene early in the third, to up his career record against Dallas to an incredible 18-2-2.

A hell of effort from the Cardiac Cats, who got plenty of puck luck (all four goals were via deflections), timely saves from Bobrovsky, and executed a couple of really nice faceoff plays to rise from the mat and beat one of the best teams in the league in their own barn. Another worthy challenger, the Carolina Hurricanes, await in Thursday night’s matchup at PNC Arena.

Giants & Dwarfs

  •  The Panthers rallied from a three-goal deficit to win a game for the first time since April 5, 2022 when they upended the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-6 in overtime on home ice.
  • Aleksander Barkov finished with two goals and an assist to post his 20th multipoint game of the season. It was the 31st multigoal game of career, which equals the franchise record held by Pavel Bure and Olli Jokinen. Barkov was credited with four shots, four hits and two blocks in a big performance.
  • Sam Bennett suited up in his 600th NHL game. Great way to celebrate the milestone by notching the game-tying goal, Sam!
  • Jason Robertson has amassed 10 points (four goals, six assists) during a nine-game point streak. Robertson, Joe Pavelski and Wyatt Johnston each finished with a goal and assist.
  • With his assist, Johnston joined Brian Bellows (three times), Mike Modano (twice), and Glen Sharpley as the only players in franchise history to reach the 50-point mark in a season at age 20 or younger.
  • Kyle Okposo made his Panthers debut, tagging in for Evan Rodrigues. Okposo registered one shot on goal and dished out three hits in 10:34 of ice time.
  • The Panthers swept the season-series against the Stars with a pair of one-goal wins. Read more about it at Defending Big D.