SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle scored, Chris Driedger made 24 saves and the Florida Panthers defeated the collapsing, rusty Dallas Stars 3-1 on Monday night.
Aleksander Barkov scored a goal with an empty goal to seal the Panthers' sixth victory in eight games.
Blake Comeau scored for Dallas and Anton Khudobin stopped 49 of the 51 shots. The Stars lost their sixth in a row and eighth of nine overall while playing their first game since February 13 due to weather conditions in Dallas.
The Stars' season was interrupted twice – first by a coronavirus outbreak at a training camp, and then by last week's winter storm in Texas.
Dallas would open the season in Florida for two games and then in Tampa Bay for two more, but nearly 20 COVID-19 positive cases delayed those games. This week, the Stars were scheduled to host the Lightning on Thursday and Saturday, but those games were canceled due to power outages in the Dallas area.
Trailing 1-0, the Panthers picked up the pace in a furious second period with a franchise-record of 29 shots on target, while the Stars only managed five.
Ekblad was equal to 1 at 8:41 of the second. Ekblad has six goals, right with Jeff Petry (Montreal) and Darnell Nurse (Edmonton) for the most goals scored by defenders this season.
Yandle put the Panthers at 2-1 on his shot from the point with 1:42 over in the second.
Comeau gave the Stars a 1-0 lead when he poked a loose puck at 4:29 from the first. Jason Robertson extended his scoring streak to five games with an assist on goal.
Mark Pysyk from Dallas spent the past four seasons with Florida, playing 292 games for the Panthers and returning for the first time. The Panthers recognized Pysyk with a tribute on the scoreboard. … Panthers V Noel Acciari (upper body) was scratched.
The two teams will meet again on Wednesday and close the set of three games on Thursday.