Pan­thers top Stars

Trocheck has game-win­ner as Florida hits the road

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Matthew DeFranks Staff writer

Hu­berdeau’s two goals aid in shootout win.

SUN­RISE — Ar­bi­trary end­points can tell a wide range of sto­ries. They can pin­point de­fi­cien­cies across the grind of a six-month hockey sea­son. They can over­value hot streaks in the same cam­paign. But they can also help shape the psy­che of a team.

A loss to the Dal­las Stars on Tues­day night and the Florida Pan­thers would have dropped seven of eight games. A win would have lifted them to vic­to­ries in two of three games. Con­fi­dence en­ter­ing a three-game road trip through Cal­i­for­nia swiveled on Tues­day night’s re­sult.

In a 4-3 Pan­thers shootout win, it ticked up­ward.

Vin­cent Trocheck scored the game-win­ning goal in the third of the shootout to give Florida the win.

The win was high­lighted by a strong game from Jonathan Hu­berdeau and Florida’s once sput­ter­ing power play unit. Hu­berdeau scored two goals on the man-ad- van­tage, mark­ing just the sec­ond time all sea­son the Pan­thers score mul­ti­ple goals on the power play. Hu­berdeau’s goals built a 2-0 lead with less than five min­utes re­main­round

ing in the first pe­riod.

But the sec­ond pe­riod un­rav­eled the lead. The third reeled it back in.

Alek­sander Barkov net­ted the game-ty­ing goal less than three min­utes into the third pe­riod, bang­ing home a re­bound of Mike Mathe­son’s shot from the point. The goal gave Barkov his sixth multi-point game of the sea­son.

The Pan­thers man­aged just four shots in the sec­ond pe­riod as the Stars pelted Luongo with 18. Florida nearly had as many penal­ties (three) as it did shots on goal in the sec­ond pe­riod. Two Dal­las break­away op­por­tu­ni­ties forced the Pan­thers to take penal­ties.

Mark Pysyk was whis­tled for hook­ing 69 sec­onds into the pe­riod in cov­er­ing for Mike Mathe­son. Mathe­son was called for trip­ping when a bounc­ing puck sprung the Stars. Dal­las didn’t score on the en­su­ing penal­ties. But it would soon after.

Jamie Benn scored his sec­ond goal of the evening when Luongo turned the puck over be­hind the net. Luongo han­dled the puck poorly, giv­ing it away to Stars for­ward Alexan­der Radulov, who found Benn with an open net. The goal knot­ted the game at 2 about half­way through the sec­ond pe­riod.

Dal­las took the lead 67 sec­onds later when a Remi Elie shot out­side the crease de­flected off Pan­thers de­fense­man MacKen­zie Wee­gar’s stick. The puck flut­tered over Luongo, de­flat­ing the BB&T Cen­ter for the sec­ond time in less than two min­utes.

For Hu­berdeau, the last few days have been up and down.

He missed Mon­day’s Pan­thers prac­tice when he was too sick to come into work. His two goals in the first pe­riod were his first goals in more than two weeks. And then more bad news lev­eled Hu­berdeau at the blue line.

Dal­las de­fense­man Stephen Johns stood up Hu­berdeau at the blue line in the sec­ond pe­riod, knock­ing him to the ice first, then skat­ing to the bench next. Hu­berdeau dis­ap­peared into the Pan­thers’ dress­ing room for 17 min­utes be­fore re-en­ter­ing the game with about seven min­utes left in the sec­ond pe­riod.

He opened the scor­ing on the power play at 5:13 of the first pe­riod by flick­ing a wrist shot past Stars goalie Kari Le­hto­nen. Vin­cent Trocheck and Ev­genii Dadonov picked up the as­sists.

Hu­berdeau struck again 10 min­utes later. This time it was Alek­sander Barkov with the nifty feed, slid­ing a pass in front of the crease for Hu­berdeau to tip in for his sev­enth goal of the sea­son.

The Pan­thers power play en­tered Tues­day night in a bit of a rut. It scored on just one of its last 15 chances and just two of its last 22 op­por­tu­ni­ties. Pan­thers per­son­nel said Tues­day the power play — if it kept play­ing the same way — would turn it­self around. Dal­las, in boast­ing the league’s third-best penalty kill, would test Florida.

“We’re get­ting there,” Hu­berdeau said be­fore the game. “Power play is huge. We want to be good at it and we want to get bet­ter.”

Florida’s third goal came just four sec­onds after a Dal­las penalty ex­pired.

The Stars got on the board when Pan­thers de­fense­man Keith Yan­dle got caught too high in the neu­tral zone, open­ing up a 2-on-1 op­por­tu­nity. Aaron Ek­blad couldn’t con­tain both Radulov and Benn. Benn eas­ily fin­ished the play to bring Dal­las within 2-1.

LYNNE SLADKY/AP

Florida’s Vin­cent Trocheck (21) is checked from be­hind by Dal­las’ Tyler Seguin (91) early in Tues­day night’s game in Sun­rise.

LYNNE SLADKY/AP

Mike Mathe­son (19) of the Pan­thers and the Stars’ Ja­son Dick­in­son (16) bat­tle for the puck. Florida has won two out of their last three be­fore head­ing on the road for a west coast swing.

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