The Florida Panthers are probably going to see Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin in their sleep.
If they do, it will not be a restful night.
Khudobin once again kept the Stars in a game they probably should not have been, as he helped Dallas bounce back from Monday’s loss and snap a six-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over the Panthers.
Dallas opened the scoring 53 seconds into the game and let their star goalie do the rest of the work.
Khudobin, who faced down 51 shots on Monday night, stopped all 43 two nights later as the Panthers suffered their first shutout of the season.
It was the second shutout of 2021 for Khudobin.
”I thought we did a lot of good things to get ourselves back in the game,” Joel Quenneville said. “They had a good start and we responded in the right way. Hey, goalie can wins games at time. You’re going to get goalie wins, you’ll get beat by some goalies.
”Their goalie was pretty good. Otherwise, pretty even game.”
Florida outshot the Stars 17-8 in the opening period and had an 31-20 shot advantage going into the third yet trailed 1-0.
Dallas increased its lead early in the third. Coming out of a power play, Esa Lindell followed up a rebound and put it past Chris Driedger on Dallas’ 22nd shot of the game.
Driedger, making his second consecutive start and fifth in the past six games, ended with 24 saves.
Dallas’ third goal came from Joel Kiviranta and was into an empty net.
Despite the loss, the Panthers stayed in first place in the Central Division by virtue of Tampa Bay blanking Carolina. Florida leads the Lightning and Hurricanes by a point.
Florida and Dallas play (again) on Thursday at 7 as the three-game series wraps up.
‘You want to get points and you want to win, we’re in a competitive division,’’ Quenneville said.
“They know how to win and had a good response. We’ll get the three-game set sorted out tomorrow night.’’
— Defenseman Gustav Forsling left the game early in the second period and did not return.
Quenneville said he did not have an update on Forsling’s status but would wait until Thursday morning.
If Markus Nutivaara is ready, he could get back in Thursday or Florida could go with Noah Juulsen.
First period highlights
If Dallas fans were worried that Khudobin would look tired after facing all those shots on Monday night had little to worry about in the opening period.
Florida threw up 17 shots on goal and had 27 shot attempts yet failed to put anything past Dallas’ star goalie.
The Stars, as they did Monday, took the initial lead only this time it was 53 seconds into the game.
On a delayed penalty, Klingberg (who had his first NHL fight against Patric Hornqvist two nights before) rifled off a shot from the top of the right circle to make it 1-0.
The Panthers, obviously, had a number of scoring chances after that (Carter Verhaeghe, Sasha Barkov) but Khudobin was just too much.
Speaking of Hornqvist, he led all players with seven shots on goal Monday.
He was credited with five in the first period Wednesday.
Second period highlights
Once again, the Panthers had a treasure trove of chances only Khudobin had no mercy.
In the period, Khudobin stopped the likes of Barkov, Verhaeghe, Aaron Ekblad, MacKenzie Weegar and Anthony Duclair on prime scoring chances.
By period end, the Stars were still holding their 1-0 lead and Khudobin, really, was the only reason why.
Florida was able to penetrate the Dallas defense, get extra chances off rebounds only to see Khudobin stop them again.
Florida outshot Dallas 14-12 in the second period although it simply felt a lot worse than that.
Driedger had to make a few saves, yeah, but nothing like his counterpart on the other side of the ice.
Third period highlights
Barkov was sent to the box on a hooking call 15 seconds into the period and Florida killed it off — technically.
Lindell’s goal came two seconds after the power play ended and was a direct result of the zone time created with the man advantage.
The goal came after Driedger made the initial stop on Radek Faksa when he tried to jam the puck through. The rebound came out wide and Lindell jumped on it.
The Panthers got a late power play at 14:21 and put a few shots on goal.
That was it. Until Dallas got its empty net goal, that is.
“You can’t be upset about it,’’ Alex Wennberg said. “Just got to forget about this game and focus on the next one.”
“It’s part of hockey. Every team is tough to play against, and they were the better team. Right now it’s a best-of-three so we’ve got a new chance tomorrow.”
GEORGE’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. G Anton Khudobin, Dallas
2. D John Klingberg, Dallas
3. C Sasha Barkov, Florida
Up Next: Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise
Tickets: AVAILABLE HERE