Stars 4, Panthers 1 (preseason)

Slow start dooms Florida against Dallas Stars; Gilbert scores for Panthers


The Panthers were beaten by the Stars for the second time in three nights. Michael Houser made 24 saves in net for Florida.

Special to the Miami Herald

Two days after losing to the Dallas Stars in a shootout, the Panthers were done in by a slow start this time.

Dallas scored a goal in each of the first two periods and cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Panthers on Friday night in front of 7,762 fans at the AT&T Center in the first NHL preseason game in San Antonio since 1995.

Florida outshot Dallas 29-28 but couldn’t take advantage of five power plays and numerous scoring opportunities in falling to 2-1-0-1 in the preseason.

“We’ve got to get off to better starts,” Panthers center Drew Shore said. “They outworked us a good portion of the game.”

Left wing Antoine Roussel had two goals and one assist for the Stars.

Defenseman Tom Gilbert, in camp on a tryout, scored the lone goal for the Panthers.

The AT&T Center is the home of the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the Panthers.

Goaltender Michael Houser recorded 24 saves in 28 chances for Florida, which was without many of its frontline players. Goalies Jacob Markstrom, Scott Clemmensen and Tim Thomas, all vying for the No. 1 job in the crease, were not in uniform.

Houser played last season at Florida’s ECHL affiliate in Cincinnati, where he went 17-10-2 in 29 starts with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.

The only other goalie to suit up for the Panthers was AHL veteran Dov Grumet-Morris, who will play for the Rampage this season.

“I thought he played really well,” Shore said of the 21-year-old Houser. “He battled and bailed us out a couple of times. We didn’t help him much.”

Dallas did not play many of its top performers, either.

The Panthers played Wednesday night in Dallas, losing 3-2 in a shootout.

Florida’s only goal came in the third period on the power play. Gilbert scored on a wrister from the left faceoff circle with assists from Brian Campbell and Marcel Goc.

But Dallas, behind backup goaltender Dan Ellis, controlled the action.

After two prime scoring chances by Panthers center Jesse Winchester produced nothing early in the game, the Stars took a 1-0 lead moments later when Roussel redirected a shot by Trevor Daley past Houser.

Dallas made it 2-0 just 45 seconds into the second period when Roussel struck again.

Center Chris Mueller, skating behind the net, found him with a pretty pass out front that the 23-year-old Frenchman promptly buried.

Florida went on the power play a minute later but came up empty, failing to get a single shot on goal.

In all, the Panthers were 1 of 5 with the man advantage.

“We’ve been working on some systems things, and we saw some snapshots of good things [Friday night],” Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. “We looked a little disjointed out there. But you saw some hard-working kids [Friday night].”

Roussel assisted on Dallas’ third goal, scored by Colton Sceviour at 2:37 of the third. Chris Mueller scored off a Florida turnover at 14:10 of the third for the final tally.

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