Well, that was certainly an entertaining hockey game.
The Stars scored four goals in the first period, a frame in which they were outshot but pounced on just about every epic Florida mistake, and there were plenty of those.
Roope Hintz kicked things off with his breakaway tally coming off a beautiful setup from Tyler Seguin. And Dallas scored three more times, including Seguin’s fourth in the final 10 seconds.
Nils Lundkvist recorded his first goal as a Dallas Stars, and it was a beauty. The 23-year-old defenseman showed off the skills that brought him to Dallas this summer, dancing the blue line and chipping a nifty wrist shot into the far corner.
The Goal: 11/10 🤯
The Celly: 1000000000/10 🙌
CONGRATS, NILS!!! pic.twitter.com/aHv1qx3Pf6
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 18, 2022
Lundkvist now has one goal and four assists in 17 games.
"I saw the forward bite on my first move. I decided to keep skating and no one went at me, tried to roof it in the corner," he said. "Good to get the first one away.
"I talk a lot with family back home and it feels like I am getting closer," he added with a smile when asked about his excited celebration after the goal. "It's good to get the first one away."
Dallas also responded immediately when Florida got on the board to make it 4-1. Just over three minutes later, Jason Robertson found Hintz on a quick turnover at the Panthers line and the birthday boy tallied his second of the game. Both Robertson and Hintz extended their point streaks to 10 games.
So all is good, right?
The game was 5-1, and should have been over. But the ‘Comeback Cats’, as they were nicknamed last season, had other plans, and Dallas was happy to oblige.
The Cats began skating better while the Stars fell back on their heels and appeared content to hold tight for the remainder of the game. That strategy quickly backfired, as Florida scored two goals in the final minutes of the second and closed the gap to 5-4 with Mathew Tkachuk’s goal in the third.
Dallas allowed four or more goals for the fourth time in the last five games.
Holding on tight.
The Panthers would not get any closer due to some saves from Jake Oettinger, a few key blocks, and a slick little play from Jamie Benn to Ty Dellandrea that put the puck in the empty net and the game on ice.
"It's one of those games that we just found a way to win," Seguin said. "That's a good hockey team. You saw, they found another gear. It gives us a lot of opportunity to learn from it, see what we didn't keep doing for them to come back, and also take a little bit of their medicine of how they come back."
Wedgewood injured: Scott Wedgewood was nearly perfect through 34 minutes, stopping 18 of 19 Florida shots while the Panthers controlled most of the play. But the 29-year-old netminder was injured in the second period after making two kick saves in tight. It appeared to be an injury with his back and he remained still on the ice for several minutes.
Update: Wedgewood was carted off on a stretcher and did not return to the game. He was not transferred to a hospital, was walking around the dressing room, and will be re-evaluated in Dallas.
"Terrified right away," lifelong friend Seguin said about the scene when Wedgewood went down. "Kind of just listen to the docs and overheard. Knew that it hopefully wasn't too crazy serious. He was a warrior for us tonight. making some incredible saves and it's the only reason we got up early."
"Sense of relief after the period when you see him," Seguin added. "Obviously, you are thinking about him until that moment. He was in good spirits. Gave him a high five."
Scott Wedgewood leaves the ice. pic.twitter.com/Va06sobdai
— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) November 18, 2022
Sam’s Three Stars
- First Star: Roope Hintz, DAL (2 goals)
- Second Star: Luke Glendening, DAL (2 assists, plus-3)
- Third Star: Jamie Benn, DAL (1 goal, 1 assist)
He Said It
"It's a great win, great road trip for us," Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. "Obviously, it wasn't exactly how we wanted to draw it up. But that's a tough lead to play with. And with the goalie going down and Otter coming in, we got on our heels, we bent, but we didn't break. Tough trip. I think last year they came down here and didn't get a point or only got one point. These are tough teams and tough buildings to play in, so I am proud of our group."