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Stars Pummel Panthers 5-1

Sports

Stars Jason Robertson scored twice in a 5-1 rout of the Panthers | Image by The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dallas got two goals from newly elected NHL All-Star Jason Robertson, and Jake Oettinger snagged 27 saves in a 5-1 trouncing of the Panthers at American Airlines Center on Sunday. The Stars ended a two-game losing streak that matched their longest of the season and also got goals from defensemen Nils Lundkvist, Esa Lindell, and Miro Heiskanen in the victory.

Dallas (24-11-6, 54 points) leads the Central Division halfway through the season by one point over the Winnipeg Jets (26-13-1, 53 points), who still have one game remaining. Las Vegas leads the Pacific with a mark of 27-13-2 for 56 points.

WHAT TO KNOW

Robertson scored in the game’s opening and final periods, at 16:45 into play and again at 4:21 into the third period.

Late in the first period, Robertson was skating into the net through the right circle when he took a touch pass from Joe Pavelski. Panthers goalie Spencer Knight’s right skate deflected Robertson’s original shot, but the puck rebounded to Robertson. He quickly lifted the rebound into the roof of the net through a narrow space over Knight’s right shoulder.

Midway through the second period, Lundkvist scored a power-play goal, beating Knight to the net to give Dallas a 2-0 lead.

Carter Verhaeghe scored off a rebound two minutes and 32 seconds later for his 19th goal of the year, cutting Dallas’ lead to 2-1. However, less than a minute later, Lindell restored Dallas’ two-goal advantage by sprinting through the slot and taking a blind backhand pass from Jamie Benn along the right boards.

After the Panthers’ third unsuccessful power play, Robertson collected a loose puck by himself in the offensive zone and scored on a wrist shot early in the third period. Heiskanen scored an empty netter at 15:49 into the final frame, nailing the shot from 180 feet.

BY THE NUMBERS

Despite earning the loss, Knight made a valiant effort, with 29 saves during Sunday’s game.

Oettinger, one of the goalies up for selection to the All-Star team the following week, won against the Panthers for the first time in five starts.

Robertson was selected last week to participate in next month’s All-Star Game in Florida, the Stars announced. He has scored points in nine of his previous 10 games and leads Dallas with 28 goals and 57 points.

The 2023 Fan Vote, which will result in two skaters and a goalie being added for each division in the All-Star Game, is open now and ends on January 17.

Florida had won two straight games, matching their longest winning run of the season, before the loss to Dallas. Florida, last year’s President’s Trophy winner, is six points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference at the halfway point of the season.

When leading after two periods, Dallas is 16-0-0. Florida has a 15-1 record when it is down after two.

WHAT THEY SAID

“I got a lot of Grade A looks tonight,” Robertson told NHL.com. “When you get that many, your confidence starts to feel good, especially when you get one early and just start hammering away.”

“[Oettinger] was our best player; that’s exactly the story,” Stars coach Peter DeBoer told NHL.com. “The goalie gave us a chance to get our legs under us. We got some timely goals, and we won the special teams battle, which is critical and a big piece of what we’ve done all year.”

NEXT UP

The Stars start a two-game trip to the Big Apple when they play the Islanders on Tuesday and the Rangers on Thursday. The first puck drops at the UBS Arena against the Islanders on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT.

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