Can the Stars Recover From a Shaky Start to the Road Trip?

Here’s hoping, as it continues tonight in Florida.

Count your blessings, Stars fans, because at least the Stars’ last seven games haven’t been as dismal as the Florida Panthers’. The Panthers’ Friday night victory over the Buffalo Sabres puts the them at 1-6-0 for the stretch, settling them at the bottom of the NHL, just above the Arizona Coyotes in the standings.

This is a time frame that includes two games for former Stars goalie Antti Niemi, whom the Panthers placed on waivers just yesterday. Through two games and almost 59 minutes of playing time (both games Niemi came in as relief), he allowed 5 goals and had a save percentage of .873.

So, the Stars have that going for them coming into tonight’s game: they’ve at least had a better time of it lately than the Panthers. We’ll see if that advantage is enough to build on.

Almost anything would be better than last night’s stinker of a third period.

This is the first of two matchups for the Stars against the Panthers this season. They’ve split decisions evenly over the last four seasons, winning four of eight games in that time frame. Or we could go by Ben Bishop’s record against the Panthers, which is 8-3-1 in 12 career games played. And even if we end up with Lehtonen in net, he’s 16-9-4 against the Panthers. Silver linings?

Either way, the Stars have to find a way to bounce back from last night.

Recent lines are not set in stone, as the Stars didn’t even finish last night’s game with lines that were announced before. Given that this is a back-to-back and the Stars currently have 14 healthy forwards, look for Jason Dickinson and/or Remi Elie to draw in for someone. Maybe Tyler Pitlick, who is just coming off injured reserve and didn’t look one hundred percent last night. It’s also possible that they’ll take advantage of Kari Lehtonen being well rested to start in Florida.

Lineup information will likely not be available until warm-ups in Florida, as its customary to have an optional morning skate on the back half of a back-to-back.

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