NHL roundup: Tim Thomas, Panthers top Stars

Panthers goalie Tim Thomas deflected a shot during Thursday’s game in Dallas.
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Panthers goalie Tim Thomas deflected a shot during Thursday’s game in Dallas.

Florida’s Aleksander Barkov enjoyed his debut a little more than all the new faces for the Dallas Stars.

The 18-year-old player from Finland scored the tying goal, veteran Marcel Goc followed with the first of his two in the third period, and former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and the Panthers spoiled Lindy Ruff’s first game as Stars coach with a 4-2 victory Thursday night in Dallas.

‘‘It had a lot of aspects to it,’’ said Panthers coach Kevin Dineen, whose team had the worst record in the lockout-shortened season after a division-winning campaign. ‘‘Our young players coming through and making a difference, a really nice goal. Our veteran guys stepping up when they needed to.’’


The Panthers erased a 2-1 deficit with goals about 4½ minutes apart.

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Barkov, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, scored as bodies piled up around Kari Lehtonen in front of the Dallas net. The teenager found the loose puck, spun, and shot it inside the left post to make it 2-2.

‘‘He had a big game,’’ Panthers forward Kris Versteeg said. ‘‘He ended up playing well. He played great for us.’’

Thomas made 24 saves for Florida in his return to the NHL after taking last season off.

Goc put Florida in front when he took a centering pass from Tomas Fleischmann and beat Lehtonen with 4:55 remaining. He scored again into an empty net in the final two minutes.


‘‘We didn’t win enough battles,’’ said Ruff, who spent 15 seasons with Buffalo before getting fired by the Sabres in the middle of last season. ‘‘When it was 2-2 and they walked in through the neutral zone to score, that wasn’t a good play for our team.’’

Three minutes before Barkov’s goal, Brenden Dillon gave Dallas a 2-1 lead with a shorthanded goal. He trailed a play that was started near center ice by Vernon Fiddler .

Penguins 3, Devils 0 — Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots for his 250th NHL victory and franchise-record 24th shutout, and Sidney Crosby scored in Pittsburgh’s two-goal first period to lead the Penguins over visiting New Jersey.

Chuck Kobasew and Craig Adams added goals for the Penguins, who took control early.

Kobasew and Crosby scored less than four minutes apart in the first, and Adams made it 3-0 midway through the third to celebrate his 800th career game in style.


Capitals 5, Flames 4 — Alex Ovechkin had two goals and an assist and added a score in the shootout and host Washington rallied from an early three-goal deficit to beat Calgary.

Michal Neuvirth, who replaced an ineffective Braden Holtby, made 27 saves and stopped Sven Baertschi and Jiri Hudler in the shootout.

Kings 3, Wild 2 — Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored shootout goals for visiting Los Angeles, which rallied to beat Minnesota in the season opener for both teams.

Carter and Drew Doughty scored regulation goals for Los Angeles, which had just 18 shots. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the Kings, including stops against Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu in the shootout.

Coyotes 4, Rangers 1 — Radim Vrbata scored three goals, Mike Smith stopped 23 shots, and host Phoenix opened its first season with an owner in four years by routing New York.

Marc Staal scored a power-play goal for the shorthanded Rangers in their first game under new coach Alain Vigneault.

Sharks 4, Canucks 1 — Justin Braun scored his first goal in more than 19 months to break a tie late in the second period, and San Jose beat visiting Vancouver.

Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, and Tommy Wingels also scored for the Sharks, who have won eight straight against the Canucks, including a sweep in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Blues 4, Predators 2 — David Backes had a goal and assist in the first period to lead host St. Louis over Nashville in the teams’ season opener.

The Blues scored three times in the first 9:45 to jump in front 3-0 and chase Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.