Chris Driedger gave up one goal on 25 shots in the Florida Panthers’ victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday.
So, it was not much of a surprise when coach Joel Quenneville announced Driedger would be back in net Wednesday for the second game of this three-game series.
Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start Thursday in Game 3.
Wednesday’s game is another one of those odd 5 p.m. weeknight starts.
Thursday goes back to 7. OK.
The Panthers kicked off this five-game homestand (Carolina comes in over the weekend) with a 3-1 victory over a Dallas team which looked, at times, exactly like a team which had not played in nine days.
Florida thoroughly outplayed the Stars fro the latter parts of the first period to the end, but goalie Anton Khubodin was on top of his game only giving up two goals.
The Panthers’ third goal went into an empty net.
We fully expect to see Khudobin back on Wednesday. Perhaps even on Thursday.
Ekblad’s hot start rolls on
Aaron Ekblad scored Florida’s first goal on Monday and it was his sixth of the year.
He had five in 67 games last season.
This has been perhaps Ekblad’s best all-around season, the 2014 No. 1 pick truly growing into his role as a dominant NHL defenseman.
“He’s playing big minutes, matchup minutes and is off to a real good start offensively and defensively,’’ Quenneville said.
“He does a lot of good things with the puck for a defenseman. He has some high-end skill and ability, has a great shot. He gets a lot of looks in the offensive zone and there is a reason why he’s an option at the top. He’s out there for the big minutes and is taking advantage.”
Hornqvist throws down
Patric Hornqvist got his first fighting major this season as he threw down with defenseman John Klingberg.
It was Klingberg’s first fight of his seven-season NHL career.
“Obviously, Hornqvist is one of the best net-front guys in the league and has been for a lot of years,” Klingberg said per the Dallas Morning News.
“He tries to get in at the net-front and he tries to own the net, and I don’t want him to go there. Just a little scrap.”
News, Notes & Numbers
Joel Quenneville confirmed Tuesday that the absence of defenseman Markus Nutivaara the past few games is due to what Quenneville called an upper-body injury.
Nutivaara has not played since last Saturday’s loss to the Lightning.
”He is getting real close to getting back on the ice,” Quenneville said.
— Keith Yandle scored the second goal of the second period on Monday night, giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
It ended up being the game-winning goal — Yandle’s third of the season. He leads all Florida defensemen with 13.
Hornqvist’s seven shots on goal led all players Monday as the Panthers outshot the Stars 52-25.
— Florida’s 29 shots on goal in the second beat the previous franchise record of 28 in the second period against Washington on Oct. 20, 2005.
The Panthers’ 52 SOG are the most by any team this season and only the Rangers (against New Jersey) have eclipsed the 50-shot mark in 2021.
Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers
- When: Wednesday, 5 p.m.
- Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise
- Tickets: AVAILABLE HERE
- TV/Radio: FSF/560-AM
- Records: Florida 12-3-2 (1st in Central); Dallas 5-4-4 (6th)
- All-time series: Dallas leads 18-14-7
- Season series: Florida leads 1-0
- Last season: Florida won only meeting, second game cancelled
- Up next: Dallas at Florida, Thursday, 7
- Panthers This Week — Monday: Florida Panthers 3, Dallas Stars 1; Wednesday: Dallas, 5; Thursday: Dallas, 7; Saturday: Carolina, 7
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINES
23 Carter Verhaeghe — 16 Sasha Barkov — 91 Anthony Duclair
11 Jonathan Huberdeau — 21 Alex Wennberg — 70 Patric Hornqvist
77 Frank Vatrano —27 Eetu Luostarinen — 10 Brett Connolly
94 Ryan Lomberg — 83 Juho Lammikko — 13 Vinnie Hinostroza
52 MacKenzie Weegar — 5 Aaron Ekblad
3 Keith Yandle — 6 Anton Stralman
42 Gustav Forsling — 7 Radko Gudas
60 Chris Driedger
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratches: D Noah Juulsen, F Owen Tippett
Injured: D Markus Nutivaara (upper body); F Noel Acciari (upper body)
Taxi squad: D Kevin Connauton, D Riley Stillman, F Mason Marchment, G Philippe Desrosiers
Florida power play (14/49 28.6% — 8th in NHL)
Florida penalty kill (39/49 79.6% — 15th in NHL)
PP1: Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Patric Hornqvist, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle
PP2: Alex Wennberg, Frank Vatrano, Anthony Duclair, Carter Verhaeghe, Anton Stralman
PROJECTED DALLAS STARS LINES
14 Jamie Benn — 12 Radek Faksa — 10 Ty Dellandrea
64 Tanner Kero — 16 Joe Pavelski — 25 Joel Kiviranta
21 Jason Robertson — 24 Roope Hintz — 34 Denis Gurianov
11 Andrew Cogliano — 18 Jason Dickinson — 15 Blake Comeau
23 Esa Lindell — 3 John Klingberg
2 Jamie Oleksiak — 4 Miro Heiskanen
5 Andrei Sekera — 13 Mark Pysyk
35 Anton Khudobin
29 Jake Oettinger
Dallas power play (16/49 32.6% — 4th in NHL)
Dallas penalty kill (42/53 79.2% — 18th in NHL)
PP1: Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, Jamie Benn, John Klingberg, Denis Gurianov
PP2: Radek Faksa, Jason Robertson, Ty Dellandrea, Miro Heiskanen, Joel Kiviranta