Who says a preseason game can’t bring regular season excitement? Not anyone in attendance at the Bank Atlantic Center Tuesday night to watch the Dallas Stars win a 4-3 OT decision over the Florida Panthers.
Midway through the third period, the Stars looked like they were well on their way to a win, holding a 3-1 lead while the Panthers power play floundered at 0-for-7. A Kris Versteeg/Alex Goligoski scrap with just over ten minutes to play re-energized a crowd that was largely silent following a three goal second period by Dallas, all on goalie Tyler Plante, who replaced Jacob Markstrom (who stopped all 10 shots he faced) midway through the period.
A few minutes after the Versteeg fight, Dallas center Ryan Garbutt boarded the Tim Kennedy, setting off a scrum that saw the Panthers Shawn Matthias drop the gloves with Brenden Dillon (worth noting and filing away, Dillon hit Matthias three to four times while Matthias was on the ice, and unable to get his guard up). In addition to the boarding major received by Garbutt (and a game misconduct) and the fighting majors, Erik Gudbranson picked up a roughing major and his own ten minute misconduct. But the scrum lit a fire under the home side and ended with them finally taking advantage of the power play time to tie the game with goals from Jonathan Huberdeau and Dmitry Kulikov, less than a minute apart.
The excitement for the home folks was short-lived as Michael Ryder buried a 2-on-1 opportunity from Mike Ribeiro 1:11 into overtime, giving the Stars the win. These two teams meet again Thursday and it remains to be seen how much of the bad blood displayed tonight will carryover to that game.
One of the storylines coming into this game was which goalie would be better suited to stay in Sunrise to start the season to fill in for the injured Scott Clemmensen. Tyler Plante came in midway through the second and promptly gave up a goal on the first shot he faced, and another one three shots later. All told, Plante gave up four goals on 16 shots faced. Markstrom was tested early but stood strong and impressed coach Kevin Dineen after his rough outing this past Friday in Tampa.
“I didn’t like the way we started that game with the exception of our goaltender. It looked like he was game ready and he certainly played a heck of a game….I think that’s all goaltenders ever look for is an opportunity and he had his tonight and he certainly had a good showing for his thirty minutes.”
Also of note, 2011 first round pick Jonathan Huberdeau scored his second goal of the preseason, which might force a decision from management. For the moment, he is without a contract and the Panthers have until Monday to either sign him or return him to his junior team in Saint John (thanks to Miami Herald’s George Richards for that info). He’s gotten a long look from management as he’s played in every preseason game so far (save for game one of the 9/19 doubleheader) and has shown some impressive passing ability as well as a willingness to get physical.
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