Slow start plagues Panthers
By John Whisler
San Antonio Express-News
SAN ANTONIO - Two days after losing to the Dallas Stars in a shootout, the Florida Panthers were done in by a low start this time.
Dallas scored a goal in each of the first two periods and cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Panthers in front of 7,762 fans at the AT&T Center in the first NHL preseason game in San Antonio since 1995.
Florida outshot the Stars 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,” center Drew Shore said. “They outworked us a good portion of the game.”
Left wing Antoine Roussel had two goals and an 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, 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 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 .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 at of the third 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 came up short 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 tonight,” Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. “We looked a little disjointed out there. But you saw some hard-working kids tonight.”
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.
And this is from our good friends with the San Antonio Rampage:
NHL MAKES SUCCESSFUL RETURN TO SAN ANTONIO
Florida Falls to Dallas, 4-1, in First NHL Game at AT&T Center
SAN ANTONIO (September 20, 2013) – The NHL made its return to San Antonio on Friday night, as 7,762 fans watched the Dallas Stars skate to a 4-1 victory over the Rampage’s parent club, the Florida Panthers, in the first NHL game held in the 11-year history of the AT&T Center.
Friday’s game marked the third NHL preseason game played in San Antonio. The Dallas Stars faced off against the Los Angeles Kings in back-to-back seasons (1994-95) at the Alamodome.
Dallas forward Antoine Roussel tallied two goals and an assist in the Stars victory. Peter Mueller also picked up a goal and an assist for the Stars. The lone Panthers goal was scored by defenseman Tom Gilbert.
Roussel opened the scoring for the Stars at 4:25 of the first period when he tipped in a point shot from defenseman Trevor Daley. Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic, who played in 55 games with the Rampage last season, had the best opportunity to knot the game, but rang a shot off the left post with just over a minute left to play in the first period.
Roussel gave the Stars a two-goal lead only 45 seconds into the second period with Mueller and Patrik Nemeth collecting assists. Panthers goaltender Michael Houser made a strong glove save on forward Colton Sceviour with 3:20 left in the period to keep it a two-goal game.
But Sceviour got his revenge and gave the Stars a 3-0 lead at 2:37 of the third period while on the power play. Gilbert answered with a power-play goal for the Panthers only 1:06 later when he fired a wrist shot through traffic that snuck past Dallas goaltender Dan Ellis.
The Stars lit the lamp for the final time on the night at 14:10 after Mueller corralled a bouncing puck in the slot and wristed a shot past Houser.
Houser turned aside 24 shots on the night, while Ellis made 28 saves. The Panthers went 1-for-5 on the power play and Dallas was 1-for-3 with the man-advantage.
The Rampage open the 2013-14 season on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. against the Chicago Wolves at AT&T Center on a Dollar Drink Night.