The Florida Panthers can’t get to Anton Khudobin in shutout loss against Dallas Stars

George Richards
·3 min read

Before Wednesday’s game, Joel Quenneville said he expected a more “dangerous” Dallas Stars team than the one his Panthers beat on Monday.

Well, what Quenneville got was the same Anton Khudobin in net.

That was not a good thing for the Panthers.

Two nights after only allowing two goals on 51 shots faced, Khudobin did not surrender any as he made 43 stops in a 3-0 shutout of the Panthers at BB&T Center.

“He made some really big saves,” Alex Wennberg said. “It is part of the game. We have to score some more goals to help the team out. ... We were creating opportunities, we had chances. Today just wasn’t our day.”

Khudobin’s game helped Dallas snap a six-game losing streak as it had not won since Feb. 2 in a season that had been put on pause.

The Stars had four games postponed last week because of widespread power outages in the Dallas area from the winter storm that crippled the region.

Their game Monday, a 3-1 loss to the Panthers, was their first in nine days.

Wednesday, the Panthers threw their best shots at Khudobin — from Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Carter Verhaeghe, Anthony Duclair, etc. — and got no reward for the effort.

The two teams wrap up their three-game series Thursday at 7 p.m.

“You’re going to have nights like this and it is disappointing,” Brett Connolly said. “No one is happy with this. But, we have been really good this year. It’s a three-game series. We’re looking to bounce back [Thursday]. ...

“We will think about this one for 20 minutes. Think about what we did wrong, what we did right, get some sleep and move on. You have to respond.”

As was the case in the series opener Monday, Dallas took the early 1-0 lead on the Panthers.

It might not have been Dallas’ only goal of the game, but thanks to Khudobin, it was the only one the Stars needed.

The Stars opened up by scoring on a delayed penalty as defenseman John Klingberg’s slap shot from above the right circle beat Chris Driedger just 53 seconds into the game.

Florida was soon on the attack, outshooting the Stars 17-8 in the first period and 31-20 by the end of the second.

Still, 1-0.

Just 15 seconds into the third, Barkov was called for hooking.

Florida killed off the penalty, but just as Barkov jumped out of the box and started skating into the play, Dallas defenseman Esa Lindell pounced on a rebound and put it past goalie Chris Driedger to make it 2-0.

Dallas ended its scoring on an empty net goal with 3:34 remaining.

“We had some great looks at him,” Quenneville said of Khudobin. “He was very aggressive around his net, he was seeing pucks and challenging. ... We did have some looks. Our shot selection was ordinary but give him some credit.”

NUTIVAARA CLOSE, FORSLING HURT

Quenneville said on Tuesday the reason defenseman Markus Nutivaara has been out of the lineup for the past week was because he is dealing with an upper-body injury.

Nutivaara, whom the Panthers picked up for minor-league winger Cliff Pu in an October trade with Columbus, has three assists in his seven games this season but has not played since Feb. 13.

“He is getting real close to getting back on the ice,” Quenneville said.

Gustav Forsling has been in the lineup in place of Nutivaara since coming off the IR but appeared to get hurt in the second period Wednesday.

Quenneville said he would have an update on Forsling’s condition Thursday morning.

The NHL made a few more changes to the Panthers’ 2021 schedule.

Florida’s game at Tampa Bay, which was scheduled for March 16, will now be played on March 21 at 4 p.m.

The home game against Tampa Bay scheduled for May 6 will be held at a date to be determined.