The Florida Panthers hit the official halfway mark of their 2022-23 season today when they visit the Dallas Stars at 3:30 p.m.
Florida comes into the day six points back of the New York Islanders for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
While the Panthers would like to have a number of games back in their previous 40, their start against the Stars back on Nov. 17 is certainly one of them.
Florida found itself down 4-0 to Pete DeBoer’s squad in what turned out to be the first of a handful of games captain Sasha Barkov would miss due to an illness which turned out to be pneumonia.
The Panthers ended up losing 6-4.
“We didn’t do anything good in the first period,” Sam Bennett said afterward.
“We got out-competed and out-skated and we really left (Sergei Bobrovsky) out to dry in the first period. It’s tough to do that because he has been so good for us.”
While coach Paul Maurice did not announce a starting goalie for today’s game, Spencer Knight did a good job in the final 40 minutes of that game when he replaced Bobrovsky after a disastrous opening period.
“We had a good second and third but it is hard to judge because they had a 4-0 lead,’’ Maurice said after practice in the Dallas area on Saturday afternoon. “We should have Barkov in our lineup which we did not have last time so we’re looking for a different game.”
As for the afternoon start, Maurice said he expects his team to have some energy as they go for their first winning streak of the season.
Florida has won its past two after beating the Coyotes and Red Wings.
Dallas, which could have some of their fans paying attention to the Cowboys-Washington game by the second period, lost its past two to Los Angeles and Anaheim but has been off since Wednesday.
The Dolphins play host to the Jets at 1.
“When you’re the road team, you want to play every game in the afternoon,’’ said Maurice, whose team was missing Matthew Tkachuk in practice for a maintenance day.
“Get up, go to the rink, play hockey, get on the plane and out you go. We’ll be good. We’ll have lots of energy.”
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT DALLAS STARS
- When: Sunday, 3:30 p.m.
- Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Draft Kings odds — Stars favored: MoneyLine (-115); Puck line (-1.5, +185); Over/Under 6.5 (-120/+100)
- Last season: Split 1-1
- This season (Stars lead 1-0): Dallas 6, Florida 4 (Nov. 17)
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 24-20-2, 3 tie
- Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at Colorado, 9:30 p.m.
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 9 Sam Bennett // 13 Sam Reinhart
6 Colin White // 15 Anton Lundell // 21 Nick Cousins
94 Ryan Lomberg // 12 Eric Staal // 54 Givani Smith
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
30 Spencer Knight
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Injured: Anthony Duclair (LTIR-Achilles), Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion)
Scratched: Matt Kiersted, Chris Tierney
PROJECTED DALLAS STARS LINEUP
21 Jason Robertson // 24 Roope Hintz // 16 Joe Pavelski
42 Fredrik Olofsson // 10 Ty Dellandrea // 91 Tyler Seguin
14 Jamie Benn // 53 Wyatt Johnston // 27 Mason Marchment
25 Joel Kiviranta // 12 Radek Faksa // 11 Luke Glendening
20 Ryan Suter // 4 Miro Heiskanen
6 Colin Miller // 5 Nils Lundkvist
23 Esa Lindell // 2 Jani Hakanpaa
29 Jake Oettinger
41 Scott Wedgewood