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.