DALLAS (AP) – Dallas captain Jamie Benn has said he has never experienced symptoms during his time on COVID-19 protocols, and the Stars have shown no ill effects from a long put walk back to the ice after a 2.5 week break due to virus issues throughout the team.
Benn had a goal and an assist two days after being shutout and the Stars won their first game in 17 days, beating the Florida Panthers 6-5 in a shootout Thursday night. They were down three times in the first 25 minutes of the game and had to go into overtime after allowing a goal with 29 seconds left in regulation.
“It wasn’t our prettiest, but we got the result we wanted,” Benn said.
“Give our guys a lot of credit for just finding a way to win. This 17-day break is a tough thing, really, said coach Rick Bowness. “There were times when we made the game a lot harder for ourselves than we should have. It comes from not playing and getting into the flow of the game, and we can fix these issues. … It wasn’t going to be a Picasso tonight.
The end was perfect. Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson, who scored one goal in regulation, scored on the only two shots in the shootout for the Stars while Braden Holtby stopped Florida’s two shots to end the game.
Benn was the last of 11 Stars players to break COVID-19 protocols since their last game on December 20. Six games have been postponed during this extended break.
The Panthers left their net empty and had an extra skater on the ice when Jonathan Huberdeau scored with 29 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
“I wouldn’t say I was too happy, I thought we played a 50-50 road hockey game, stretches we played well and stretches we didn’t play,” said Panthers caretaker coach Andrew Brunette. “It wasn’t our A-game at all, but we found a way. … We were not inconsistent.
Florida had won their previous four games, all at home, while scoring 24 goals in that span.
Stars defenseman John Klingberg, who collected two assists and one stoppage of play, landed a final shot that was blocked by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with a second to play in the five-minute overtime period. .
Benn gave Dallas a 5-4 lead with 13:34 left after Bobrovsky came out of the net to play a puck. But Denis Gurianov recovered it and skated behind the net, dragging the recovering goalkeeper to his right before passing to Benn for a shot from the other end.
Aleksander Barkov scored the Panthers’ first two goals, including the captain’s shorthanded score in the opening seconds of the second period to make it 2-1.
The Stars equalized again on that power play, carried over from the end of the first period, when Benn fired a shot and the puck shot out from under Bobrovsky’s legs before Gurianov knocked it into the net.
Holtby stopped 37 shots. Bobrovsky made 31 saves.
The Stars scored twice in 28 seconds to take the lead for the first time in the second period. Robertson extended his active NHL home scorer streak to nine games with his 11th goal of the season before Tyler Seguin slipped a short backhand for a 4-3 lead.
The Panthers tied at 4 on defenseman Mackenzie Weegar’s shot from the right circle through traffic, closing a second period when both teams scored three times.
Klingberg stopped the Stars from falling 2-0 down and then brought them down to 1-1 in about half a minute in the first period.
The puck slid down the forehead and ricocheted off the left post on a Joe Thornton backhand, in his 1,700th NHL game in 24 seasons. The puck was still in the crease behind Holtby before Klingberg won.
After a face-off on the other end, Klingberg took a shot from the blue line and was credited with a pass after the puck came out of Michael Raffl’s stick.
NOTES: The Stars earned their sixth overtime / shootout victory, tying their total for all of last season, when they missed the playoffs. … Aaron Eklad had three assists for the Panthers. … Thornton is only the sixth player in the NHL to play 1,700 games. “So many people have helped me get here, coaches, great teammates, great coaches. It’s a community that helps you get this far, and I thank them all,” said Thornton, 42. years.… Five different stars have scored goals, like the 7-4 victory over Minnesota in their previous game when all goals were scored by different players.
Florida: In Carolina on Saturday.
Dallas: Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Stars on Saturday for the first time since October 26, 2019. Pittsburgh has won 10 straight wins.
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