SUNRISE, Fla. — Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle scored one goal apiece, and Chris Driedger made 24 saves as the Florida Panthers beat the slumping, rusty Dallas Stars 3-1 on Monday night.
Aleksander Barkov scored an empty-net goal to seal the Panthers’ sixth win in eight games.
Blake Comeau scored for Dallas, and Anton Khudobin stopped 49 of 51 shots. The Stars, who were playing their first game since Feb. 13 because of the weather conditions in Dallas, have lost six in a row and eight of their last nine overall.
The Stars’ season was twice interrupted — first by a coronavirus outbreak in training camp and then by last week’s winter storm in Texas.
Dallas was supposed to open the season at Florida for two games and then at Tampa Bay for two more, but close to 20 COVID-19 positive cases prompted the postponement of those games. This week, the Stars were scheduled to host the Lightning on Thursday and Saturday, but those games were called off because of power outages in the Dallas area.
Trailing 1-0, the Panthers picked up the pace in a furious second period with a franchise-record 29 shots on goal, while the Stars managed only five.
Ekblad tied it at 1-all at 8:41 of the second. He has six goals, tied with Jeff Petry (Montreal) and Darnell Nurse (Edmonton) for most goals by defensemen this season.
Yandle put the Panthers ahead 2-1 on his shot from the point with 1:42 left in the second.
Comeau gave the Stars a 1-0 lead when he poked in a loose puck at 4:29 of the first. Jason Robertson stretched his scoring streak to five games with an assist on the goal.
Dallas and Florida meet again Wednesday and close out the three-game set Thursday.