By David Dwork

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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Things may slowly be turning around for the Florida Panthers.

Sure, they return home tonight having won just one of three on a brief road trip, but there were some very positive signs to take away from that week away from home.

Florida left for that trip as the league’s worst defensive team, giving up almost four goals per game on an average of 37.3 shots.

While the Panthers went 1-2-0 on the trip, they gave up just six goals. Total.

In the final two games, a 4-1 win in Buffalo and a 2-1 loss to the Devils, Florida allowed just 25 and 21 shots.

Considering the last time an opponent was held under 30 shots was Opening Night (against Tampa!), I’d say that’s a big step in the right direction.

The Panthers will head right back out on the road later this week, but first they’ll battle the Dallas Stars tonight at the BB&T Center.

Dallas comes in having alternated wins and losses over their last six games, scoring 12 goals in the three wins while allowing 14 in the three losses.

The Stars leading scorer is defensemen John Klingberg. His 18 points pace the team, though he was held off the scoresheet and posted a minus-3 rating during Monday’s 5-1 loss at Carolina.

Kari Lehtonen is expected between the pipes for Dallas after Ben Bishop took the loss last night.

Lehtonen (2-3-0, 2.40 GAA, .914 save percentage) has won his past two stars, allowing just two goals on 58 shots.


  • Florida has won just once over their past seven games (1-4-2).
  • The Stars hold the league’s top power play unit, scoring on 31.4% of their opportunities.
  • Vincent Trocheck, who leads the Panthers with eight goals, had a four-game scoring streak snapped on Saturday.
  • Florida defensemen Mike Matheson is expected to play in his 100th NHL game tonight.
  • Stars forward Alexander Radulov has an eight-game points streak going. He has five goals and six assists over that span.

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