Recap: Panthers @ Stars, 10/24/15

Final 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Panthers (4-3-1) 2  2 2 6
@ Stars (6-2-0) 1 0 1 2

Six different goal scorers and 4 players with multi-point games powered the Panthers past the blazing hot Dallas Stars.

First Period

The first period started off fairly even, in fact the Panthers had some offensive zone time, although nothing really came off it. Things got going when Alex Petrovic went off for a delay of game penalty, and the Stars quickly converted when a point shot by Tyler Seguin found its way past Al Montoya as a result of a net-front presence by Jamie Benn. Ten minutes later, Jonathan Huberdeau sent Jaromir Jagr and Nick Bjugstad in on a 2-on-1, and after fumbling the puck slightly, Jagr shot the puck shortside on Kari Lehtonen and scored. Just two minutes later, Jonathan Huberdeau intercepted a pass at the offensive zone blue-line, fed Bjugstad in the slot, and he scored after his shot from the slot deflected off Lehtonen’s glove and into the net.

Some other notes from the 1st period:

  • Jaromir Jagr had a great chance early in the period on a point-blank shot from the slot, but Kari Lehtonen robbed him the left pad.
  • Quinton Howden got in on a breakaway after a Dallas defenseman couldn’t hold the puck in at the blue-line. Howden got a shot off and nearly beat Lehtonen by putting the puck between his arm and his body, but no cigar.
  • Vincent Trocheck had a glorious chance on a rebound that came from a huge point shot by Gudbranson but Lehtonen was there to make the save again.
  • Al Montoya was very good in the first period and made some huge saves to keep the score close for the Panthers. First he made a great lateral movement to rob Jamie Oleksiak on a 2-on-1, and shortly after, he stoned Radek Faksa on a one-timer from the slot. He also stopped Patrick Sharp later on during a multi-shot flurry which saw one of them ricochet off the post.
  • Jonathan Huberdeau had probably his best period of the season thus far. He tallied primary assists on both Panther goals  and was skating with confidence. He was really engaged in the play, and the Panthers will desperately need him to continue what he’s doing, especially with Barkov out of the lineup.
  • The Panthers’ penalty kill was pretty good in the period. They allowed just one goal on three power play opportunities which is good considering the Stars have one of the best power plays in the league thanks to their lethal offensive weapons.

Second Period

The Panthers were buzzing out of the gate in the second period and Aaron Ekblad scored his first goal of the season as the result of a really sick passing play. Jaromir Jagr skated in up the left wing, sent a lateral pass to Nick Bjugstad in the high slot who then dropped the puck back to Ekblad for a wrist shot that went past Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen would then be pulled from the game in favor of backup goaltender Antti Niemi. Dave Bolland scored the fourth straight goal for the Panthers by deflecting a Dmitry Kulikov wrister from the point.

Some other notes from the 2nd period:

  • Al Montoya was sharp once again in the second period and made some nice saves including one on a breakaway chance by Mattias Janmark and another at the midway point of the period by Tyler Seguin.
  • Reilly Smith looked good especially during the second period. He’s been using his speed to chase down pucks in the offensive zone and he broke up several offensive opportunities by the Stars.
  • Erik Gudbranson destroyed Antoine Roussel in a fight.
  • During the Panthers’ lone power play opportunity of the period, both units looked solid. They got some good scoring chances including a wraparound chance by Nick Bjugstad and a Brian Campbell shot from the point which created some havoc in front of the net. The Panthers did a good job of holding pucks in at the point during the man-advantage, and Dave Bolland took Aleksander Barkov’s top-unit spot. Bolland had noticeably strong period by scoring a goal and setting up Jussi Jokinen for several scoring opportunities.
  • Bolland’s goal in the period was followed up an absolute beauty of a glove save by Al Montoya on Tyler Seguin who was camped out in the low slot.
  • The Panthers controlled most of the play in the 2nd and had a decent amount of sustained pressure, although the Stars certainly had some good chances.

Third Period

The period started with the Dallas Stars getting some opportunities in the offensive zone and their work paid off when Tyler Seguin fed Jamie Benn at the right faceoff circle who then sniped the puck past Al Montoya. The Panthers fought right back as Jussi Jokinen caused Jason Spezza to turn the puck over and Reilly Smith was perfectly positioned in the slot to one-time the puck past Antti Niemi giving the Panthers a 3-goal lead once again. Vincent Trocheck found Quinton Howden who made a nice move on a 2-on-1 rush to score late in the period, giving the Panthers their 6th goal of the night.

Some other notes from the 3rd period:

  • Jaromir Jagr and Nick Bjugstad broke in on a 2-on-1 that was nearly a mirror image of their odd-man rush in the 1st period, but this time Jagr elected to try for the cross-ice pass and the Stars defenseman laid out block it.
  • Derek MacKenzie got a good look after his forechecking during a 4-on-4 scenario allowed him to steal the puck in the offensive zone and get a one-handed shot on Niemi.
  • Montoya = solid again in the 3rd.
  • The pace of the 3rd was a bit slower and there were less offensive opportunities after the Stars and Panthers traded goals early in the period.

Wrap-Up

The Panthers were desperate for a win tonight and to get one against the 2nd hottest team in the league right now makes it all the more impressive. While they were in the penalty box 4 times tonight, they were more disciplined than their past couple of games and that allowed them to get going offensively. The Panthers were cycling the puck well and looked more energetic and confident while making fewer defensive mistakes. Al Montoya came up huge several times tonight and definitely held the lead for the Panthers, and guys like Quinton Howden, Reilly Smith, Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Jussi Jokinen had really good showings and stepped up with top-line center Aleksander Barkov out of the lineup. The Panthers were really good during 5-on-5 play tonight and that was really the difference for them against the Stars.

The Panthers will head home to face the Avalanche on Tuesday at 7:30 PM for the first game of a 3-game homestand. Be on the lookout for our preview and recap of that game.

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