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Gurianov lifts Stars past Florida

Denis Gurianov scores shootout winner as Stars top Panthers, 2-1

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Denis Gurianov scored the lone goal of the shootout and Antti Niemi made 27 saves and stopped all five shooters he faced in the shootout as the Dallas Stars defeated the Florida Panthers, 2-1, at American Airlines Center Tuesday night.

Gurianov scored in the fifth round of the shootout, beating Panthers goaltender James Reimer with a wrist shot.

"I executed what I wanted," Gurianov said through translator Stan Tugolukov, Stars player relations coordinator. "And the puck was in the net."

The 19-year-old Gurianov, the Stars' first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, had his strongest showing of the preseason Tuesday, putting three shots on goal and registering three hits.

"He's been a little but up-and-down, which you expect with young players," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "You really notice it when he's skating and tonight I thought he skated better and got in on some good plays."

Video: Ruff's thoughts after shootout victory

Niemi played the entire game and was sharp in net for the Stars, coming up with several big stops.  

"I thought Antti was excellent. Had a great game for us," Ruff said. "That second half he made six or seven real good saves for us."

Niemi faced only 5 shots in the first period, but he saw 23 over the second and third periods and overtime.

"I felt good," Niemi said. "Not too many saves in the first, but more in the second. Made some pretty good saves and felt pretty strong."

Perhaps his biggest save of the night came with 12.2 seconds left in overtime when he stopped a rebound chance by Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen to keep it a 1-1 game and get the Stars to the shootout.  

"Just tried to cover the bottom of the net and got a good reach there and was able to keep it out," Niemi said.

Video: Niemi on his shootout mindset

Patrick Eaves scored in regulation for the Stars, tallying on the power play with 5:08 left in the third period to tie the game 1-1. Eaves shot from the right circle deflected off Florida forward Vincent Trocheck and past Reimer.

After a scoreless 40 minutes, which included the Stars killing off a lengthy Florida five-on three power play, the Panthers took a 1-0 lead early in the third when Paul Thompson scored on the rebound of a Greg McKegg shot off the rush.

The win pushed the Stars' preseason record to 3-2-0.

Jamie Benn looks sharp in first preseason game

Stars captain Jamie Benn played his first preseason game and played well. Benn sat out the first four preseason games as a precaution since he was coming off surgery for a core muscle injury in July.

"I felt pretty good. It was fun to get back out there. I was excited to play," Benn said. "I just tried to play my game out there and not think about how my body feels. Just tried to get right in it, right away. For the most part, I am pretty happy with how my body felt."

Benn played 19:36, had one assist, four shots on goal, one hit, two takeaways and one blocked shot in the game.

"I thought he was good for a first game," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "He was in on some good opportunities, and he skated well." 

Ruff said Benn probably won't play in Wednesday's preseason game against Colorado but will suit up for Friday's game against Los Angeles in Las Vegas.

Notes

*The Stars outshot the Panthers 35-28 and had a 71-61 edge in attempted shots.

*Brett Ritchie led the Stars with 6 shots on goal and 10 attempted shots. Stephen Johns was next with 8 attempted shots.

*The Stars were 1-5 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill

*The Stars won 27 of 54 faceoffs (50 percent).

*Justin Dowling won 6 of 9 faceoffs (67 percent). Adam Cracknell won 7 of 12 (58 percent). Gemel Smith won 6 of 13 (46 percent). Radek Faksa won 5 of 16 (31 percent).

*John Klingberg led the Stars with 26:07 of ice time. Esa Lindell was next with 25:11.

Stars Lineup

Jamie Benn - Radek Faksa - Patrick Eaves
Cole Ully - Justin Dowling - Denis Gurianov
Curtis McKenzie - Gemel Smith - Matej Stransky
Antoine Roussel - Adam Cracknell - Brett Ritchie

Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi
Maxime Lagace

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