Panthers down Stars in shootout
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers coughed up a two-goal lead and trailed in the third period but didn’t panic.
The Panthers also fell behind after the first round of the shootout ... but again didn’t panic.
Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck scored in the shootout to lift Florida to a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at the BB&T Center.
Barkov, who tied the shootout 1-1 after Tyler Seguin had scored for Dallas, said he felt no added pressure.
“When you go to shoot, you know what you are going to do,” Barkov said, “so you feel confident. If you take the puck and say, ‘I don’t know what to do’ then you will probably not score.”
Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, who made 40 saves through regulation and overtime, had two consecutive shootout stops to put Florida in position to win.
Luongo stopped Dallas’ two hottest shooters in Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov in the shootout.
“I studied them a bit,” Luongo said of his pregame preparation. “(But) I didn’t know what Radulov was going to do.”
Even so, Luongo got the stop on Radulov. And once that was done, Trocheck scored the game-winner for Florida (6-9-2).
Earlier in the game, Jonathan Huberdeau, who missed practice on Monday due to an illness, scored two power-play goals for Florida.
Huberdeau, the left winger on Florida’s top line, leads the Panthers with 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists).
He gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead with his two first-period goals, both at close range.
On the first goal, Huberdeau took a pass from Trocheck and was in alone on Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen. On the second goal, Huberdeau tapped in a perfect pass from Barkov.
Florida got contributions from rookie forwards Curtis Valk and Dryden Hunt.
Valk, 24, centered the fourth line and became the fourth Panthers player to make his NHL debut this season. Hunt, a left winger, played on the second line. He made his NHL debut earlier this season along with Florida’s Owen Tippett and Chase Balisy.
Combined, Valk and Hunt played 14 minutes, adding depth.
Dallas (9-8-1), which has lost four of its past six games, was led by Benn, who scored two goals, and Radulov, who picked up two primary assists and has at least one point in nine consecutive games.
Benn’s second goal came after Luongo mishandled the puck behind his own net. Radulov stole it and fed Benn. Luongo tried to scramble back into the crease to stop the shot, but it was too late.
“It was a bit of a miscommunication with the (defenseman),” Luongo said of his ugly turnover that would have been a bigger issue had Florida lost. “He was calling for the over so I went to make the over pass, but their guy (Radulov) was right there.
“I have to pick my head up before I make that pass and make sure no one is there. That was a tough one to give up.”
Lehtonen, who made 26 saves in defeat, said it was an “odd” game.
“First, they were dictating play,” he said. “Then the second period was all ours. In the third, they came strong. ... At least we got the point.”
Indeed, Dallas took its first lead of the game with 12:03 expired in the second period on a goal by fourth-line right winger Remi Elie. He took a pass from Jason Spezza and fired a backhander that went in off defenseman MacKenzie Weegar’s stick.
Florida tied the score 3-3 with 2:55 expired in the third. Barkov tipped in a shot by defenseman Mike Matheson — a play that no doubt disappointed Stars coach Ken Hitchcock.
“We should have won the game,” Hitchcock said. “The second period was the best we’ve played on the road all year. We deserved a better fate.”
NOTES: Dallas rested G Ben Bishop. He is 7-5-0 with a 2.68 goals-against average this season. ... Dallas D Marc Methot (lower-body injury) missed his sixth straight game. ... Dallas’ healthy scratches were C Gemel Smith and RW Brett Ritchie. ... Panthers C Derek MacKenzie (lower-body injury) missed his first game of the season. He is day to day. ... Panthers D Alex Petrovic was a healthy scratch for the third straight game, his longest inactive streak of the season. ... Panthers C Jared McCann, who has missed eight of his past nine games, was placed on injured reserve but could return this weekend. ... G Antti Niemi, who was waived by Florida on Monday, was signed by the Montreal Canadiens. ... Florida plays its next three games on the road at the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. ... Dallas’ three-game road trip ends Thursday at the Tampa Bay Lightning.