All-Star Robertson scores two goals, Stars top Panthers 5-1
DALLAS (AP) — Jason Robertson scored two goals and Jake Oettinger made 27 saves as the Dallas Stars beat the Florida Panthers 5-1 on Sunday.
Defensemen Nils Lundkvist, Esa Lindell and Miro Heiskanen also scored for the Stars, who snapped a two-game losing streak that matched their longest of the season.
Dallas reached its season midpoint leading the Central Division by one point over the Winnipeg Jets, who have one game in hand.
Carter Verhaeghe scored and Spencer Knight stopped 29 shots for the Panthers, who had won two straight to match their longest winning streak of the season. Florida, last season’s Presidents’ Trophy winner, is six points out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff position at its midpoint.
Robertson, who was chosen last week to play in next month’s All-Star Game at Florida, scored the game’s first and last goals 16:45 into play and at 4:21 of the third period. He leads Dallas with 28 goals and 57 points and has points in nine of his last 10 games (five goals, 13 points).
“I got a lot of grade-A looks tonight,” Robertson said. “You get that many, you feel good, especially when you get one that early.”
Oettinger, among the players eligible to be voted onto the All-Star roster next week, earned his first win over the Panthers in five career starts.
“The goalie gave us a chance to get our legs under us,” first-year Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. “We got some timely goals, and we won the special teams battle.”
Robertson took a touch pass from Joe Pavelski while skating on net through the right circle. His initial shot was kicked out by Knight’s right skate, but bounded back to Robertson. He quickly lifted the rebound through a small opening hehind Knight’s right shoulder into the net’s roof late in the first period.
Robertson scooped up a loose puck alone in the offensive zone and, in near shootout fashion, scored on a wrist shot early in the third period, 23 seconds after the Panthers’ third unsuccessful power play.
Lundkvist gave Dallas a 2-0 lead midway through the second period with three seconds left on a power-play goal on a one-timer that beat Knight on the stick side.
Verhaeghe converted a rebound 2:32 later for his 19th goal of the season that pulled Florida within 2-1, but Lindell sprinted through the slot and took a blind backhand pass from Jamie Benn along the right boards and restored Dallas’ two-goal lead less than a minute later.
Heiskanen scored into an empty net with 4:11 to play.
PLAYING TO FORM
Dallas is 16-0-0 when leading after two periods. Florida is 0-15-1 when trailing after two.
“We were good right to 3-1,” first-year Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “And then, we haven’t had comebacks this year. We just have to understand that a 60-minute game is harder, harder to play.”
SEEMS SO LONG AGO
The Panthers have 19 regulation losses, already one more than all of last season.
“We’re not where we want to be,” forward Aleksander Barkov said. “But I think over the last two weeks, maybe the last four games, our effort has really been good. We’ve just to stay with that.”
Stars F Roope Hintz, the team’s No. 2 scorer with 19 goals and 44 points, left late in the first period with an upper-body injury. … Panthers F Matthew Tkachuk, also an All-Star, had an assist giving him six points in his last four games (3 goals, 3 assists). … Dallas D Ryan Suter assisted on the first two goals for his first multi-point game since April 10. … Two of Lundkvist’s four goals this season have come against Florida.
Panthers: Visit the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.
Stars: Begin a two-game trip to New York on Tuesday against the Islanders.
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