NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, October 21st (All times eastern)
Dallas Stars (4-1-0) at Florida Panthers (2-2-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Hoping to bounce back from their first loss of the season, the Dallas Stars will try to solve Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers, who are gunning for a third straight win in tonight's clash at BankAtlantic Center.
The Stars ripped off four straight wins to begin the season, taking three of those contests beyond regulation. They paid a visit to Tampa on Monday, but allowed four power-play goals in a 5-4 setback to the Lightning.
Brenden Morrow, Adam Burish, James Neal and Toby Petersen all scored for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen faced 44 shots and stopped 39 of them. Morrow added an assist and scored in the third period, as did Neal, but the Stars couldn't complete the comeback and open a season with five wins in a row for the first time since 2006-07.
"That's a good sign," said Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas of the rally try. "We want to be known as a hard working team. I think in the third we knew we had to force the play. We made a comeback but we came up just a little short."
Brad Richards had an assist to run his point streak to five games. He has two goals and eight assists over the run, and has notched a pair of goals and six helpers in his last seven games versus the Panthers.
Lehtonen is 12-5-4 with a 2.43 goals-against average in his career versus the Panthers.
The Stars offense will have to be sharp tonight as it is likely to go against Vokoun, who has posted back-to-back shutouts over the Flames and Lightning. The netminder turned aside all 27 shots faced in Calgary last Thursday before making 29 saves at home versus the Lightning on Saturday for his 40th career shutout.
David Booth scored a pair of goals versus the Lightning and had an assist, while Bryan McCabe notched four helpers. Rostislav Olesz had a goal and two assists for Florida, which dropped its first two games of the season before the consecutive blankings.
It was an encouraging sign for Booth, who potted 31 goals in 2008-09, but had just eight in 28 games last year due to a concussion. He has zero points in three games versus Dallas.
"It feels good to put six goals on the board," said Booth. "That gives the whole team confidence. Vokoun has been playing great and giving the whole team confidence and it shows in how we've been playing."
Vokoun may have trouble extending his shutout string this evening as he is just 6-17-0 with a tie and 2.54 GAA in 24 career games versus the Stars. He has lost six of his last seven starts against them as well.
The Panthers recorded a 6-5 shootout win over the Stars in Dallas last year in the lone meeting between the clubs and has won two straight and three of the last four in the series. Florida has won two of the last three played in Sunrise as well.
10/21 10:48:31 ET