Somehow, someway, the Florida Panthers were going to get the puck past Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin.

It took an all-out onslaught in the second period to make that happen.

The Panthers put 29 shots on goal in the middle frame — a franchise record for a single period — and finally got a pair past Khudobin before holding on for a 3-1 win over the Stars at the BB&T Center on Monday in the first of eight matchups between the two teams this season and first of three over the next four days. The two teams play again on Wednesday and Thursday.

Florida has now won six of its past eight games to improve to 12-3-2 on the season. Dallas, playing its first game in 11 days, has lost six consecutive games (three in regulation, three in overtime or shootout) and is 5-4-4 on the season.

Defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle scored for Florida in that second period to erase an early 1-0 deficit.

Ekblad tied the game 8:41 into the frame with a slap shot from just beyond the left circle on a feed from MacKenzie Weegar. It was Ekblad’s sixth goal of the season, tying him with Montreal’s Jeff Petry and Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse for the most goals by defensemen through Monday’s slate of games. Ekblad and Petry have each played 17 games. Nurse has played in twenty.

“That was the one we needed,” Weegar said. “... We kept it rolling after that.”

Yandle’s go-ahead goal, a slap shot from the point, came at the 18:18 mark, two minutes after Florida’s Patric Hornqvist and Dallas’ John Klingberg were penalized for fighting. It was Yandle’s third goal of the season.

Aleksander Barkov scored on an empty net with 27.8 seconds left in regulation. It was Barkov’s seventh goal of the season.

Overall, the Panthers had 52 shots on goal compared to 25 by the Stars. The Panthers’ single-game record for a regulation game is 55, set on Nov. 3, 2010, against the Atlanta Thrashers.


Chris Driedger continues to make his case for more playing time — and coach Joel Quenneville continues to give it to him.

Driedger, the Panthers’ 26-year-old backup, has started four of the team’s past five games. He’s a perfect 4-0-0 in those contests and 7-1-1 overall through nine starts this season.

On Monday, he stopped 24 of 25 shots that came his way. The lone goal he gave up was a Blake Comeau wrist shot on a loose puck less than five minutes into the game.

“He has had a good stretch here,” Quenneville said after the team’s morning skate on Monday. “He has an opportunity right now to get a little bit more than the odd game and he has taken advantage of it. We will see how it plays out. We expect Bob to be pushing him and getting the net back.

”But the opportunity is there for Driedge to play a little bit more than normal and we’ll see where that takes us.”


For the second time in the span of a week, the Panthers faced a player who was on their roster last season.

It was Vincent Trocheck on Feb. 17 when the Panthers faced the Carolina Hurricanes.

On Monday, it was hybrid defenseman/forward Mark Pysyk, who spent the previous four seasons with the Panthers and tallied 62 total points in that span (17 goals, 45 assists).

“It is going to be a little weird going back to a place I spent the last four years,” Pysyk told reporters Sunday. “It will be weird, but it is a new journey and I am on this team now. Hopefully we can go in there and … get three wins.”

After Monday, the Stars will have to settle for a chance to win two of three.


The Panthers on Monday reassigned defenseman Riley Stillman to their taxi squad. Forward Scott Wilson was sent from the taxi squad to the Syracuse Crunch, the joint AHL affiliate of the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

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