Frank Vatrano powers the Panthers as they rally from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Stars

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George Richards
·4 min read
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As the time ticked away, it did not look like the Panthers were going to find their way out of this mess.

In the latter stages of the third period, the two Dallas goalies had stopped 124 of 126 shots the Panthers had thrown at them in this three-game series.

But then the tide changed. Within a span of 52 seconds in the third, the Panthers scored twice and then got a Frank Vatrano goal with 3:10 remaining as they came back to stun the Stars 3-2 at BB&T Center.

Florida, shutout the night before, had trailed 2-0 with 6:20 left before Sasha Barkov broke the ice.

Less than a minute later, Anton Stralman threw one in from the point that found its way past rookie Jake Oettinger who had, before then, been fantastic.

Vatrano ended up winning it with his goal as Sergei Bobrovsky got back in the win column by stopping 37 shots.

Florida’s comeback came not long after a sandwich hit on Dallas’ Jackson Dickinson from Patric Hornqvist and Stralman broke the end boards which needed repair and brought a delay in the game.

“I think it comes down to one word and it is resiliency,” said Vatrano, whose team improved to 6-0 following a loss this season.

“We mixed and matched some lines and that put some jump in our step especially right after those boards came out.”

Anton Khudobin, who shut out the Panthers on Wednesday night, had the day off and Oettinger had a shutout of his own.

Oettinger made 31 straight saves on the Panthers before Barkov cleaned up a loose puck coming off a shot from MacKenzie Weegar.

Moments later, the horn went off again as Florida tied the score on a long shot from a defenseman not known very much for his scoring.

Vatrano, who had a prime scoring chance stopped midway through the period, cashed in on his big chance to make it 3-2.

“It was just a matter of time before we scored,” Barkov said.

“We weren’t getting any lucky bounces and then we did and ended up winning the game.”

Said Bobrovsky: “I felt good from the beginning and the guys stepped up. It’s a great win for us. When you’re down 2-0 and find a way to win, it gives you a boost of energy and puts points in the bank. That helps for later in the season. I have tremendous confidence in this team.”

After an even and scoreless first period (Dallas led 11-10 in shots), the Stars turned things up in the second.

Dallas took a 1-0 lead as Joe Pavelski followed up a rebound that came right to him off a shot from Justin Dowling at 2:10 of the period.

The Panthers had a number of prime scoring chances to tie things up including a point-blank shot from Carter Verhaeghe and a breakaway from Sasha Barkov. Oettinger wasn’t having any of it.

Late in the second, Jamie Benn slid into the slot and deflected a 50-foot shot from teammate John Klingberg past Bobrovsky making it a two-goal game.

YANDLE MOVES UP IRONMAN LIST

Defenseman Keith Yandle has not missed a game since March 26, 2009 — for the then-Phoenix Coyotes.

Thursday, he played in his 885th consecutive regular-season game.

That moved him past Steve Larmer (1982-93) for the third-longest Ironman streak in NHL history.

Yandle is 29 games away from tying Garry Under for second all-time, a number he could reach this season. He is now 79 games from tying Doug Jarvis for the all-time Ironman record.

THIS AND THAT

With their third game in four nights, the Panthers shuffled things up Thursday and made a handful of roster moves.

Both Mason Marchment and Kevin Connauton were called up from the taxi squad and put in the lineup; Owen Tippett was put on the taxi squad and 2018 first-round pick Grigori Denisenko was called up from Florida’s shared AHL Syracuse team.

Defenseman Markus Nutivaara, whom Quenneville said had a setback in his rehabilitation, was placed on the injured reserve.

Gustav Forsling, the defenseman who was hurt in the second period Wednesday, is day-to-day per Quenneville.

For Connauton, Thursday’s game was his first with the Panthers upon making the team out of training camp on a professional tryout.