Preview: Stars at Panthers
The Dallas Stars look to steady the ship after two straight losses and solidify their playoff position in the Western Conference when they visit the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. The Stars, who are two points up on St. Louis and Minnesota for third place in the Central Division, started their five-game road trip with a 3-2 overtime loss at Nashville on Thursday and a 3-2 regulation setback at Arizona two days later.
“You have to play 60 minutes, that’s the bottom line,” Dallas forward Alexander Radulov told reporters after his team scored the final two goals in the third period of Saturday’s loss. “It’s not enough to play two periods or 50 minutes, it’s a 60-minute game. We have to understand that, embrace it and be better.” The Stars, who host Florida on March 19, have earned at least a point in the last three meetings (2-0-1) but arrive in the Sunshine State with a Western Conference-low 10 wins on the road. The Panthers are well behind in the Eastern Conference wild-card race despite winning six of their last nine, although they came up short Sunday with a 5-2 setback against NHL-best Tampa Bay at home. “That’s a team you can’t chase,” Florida forward Frank Vatrano told reporters after the loss. “You’ve got to play with a lead and stay with it. We were trying to chip away at it but at the end of the day it didn’t happen, so we have to regroup and get ready for the next one.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Southwest (Dallas), FS Florida
ABOUT THE STARS (28-22-5): No. 1 goaltender Ben Bishop (19-12-2, .924 save percentage) is out with an upper-body injury and Anton Khudobin (9-10-3, .924 SP) will have to take the baton for the near future. Center Tyler Seguin has recorded four of his team-high 22 goals in the last five games and leads Dallas with 51 points - seven more than Radulov, who scored his 15th goal Saturday and is tied with Seguin at 29 assists. Captain Jamie Benn owns three assists in his last three games, but has managed one goal in 10 contests as he remains one shy of his ninth season with at least 20 in 10 years.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (23-23-8): Vatrano has recorded six goals in his last nine games to tie for second on the team with a career-high 19 - behind only left wing Mike Hoffman (25), who was blanked Sunday despite five shots. Captain Aleksander Barkov has registered six of his team-high 53 points in the last five contests and forward Jonathan Huberdeau is next with 52 after recording only two in the past five games. Roberto Luongo (12-12-1, .895 SP) came on in relief Sunday, moving past Patrick Roy for second on the NHL’s all-time list in goalie appearances with 1,030, and is one win behind Ed Belfour (484) for third.
1. Florida C Riley Sheahan, acquired from Pittsburgh on Feb. 2, recorded an assist in each of his last three contests.
2. Dallas D Roman Polak suffered an upper-body injury after being boarded Saturday and is considered day-to-day.
3. The Panthers placed F Colton Sceviour (upper body) on injured reserve and recalled veteran F Jamie McGinn.
PREDICTION: Panthers 4, Stars 3