By PAUL GEREFFI
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The goalie-challenged Florida Panthers came out on the short end of the stick in another netminder matchup.
This time, Dallas’ Jhonas Enroth got the best of them as he stayed perfect in shootouts this season.
Enroth made three saves to record his sixth shootout win, and Colton Sceviour scored the winning goal in the tiebreaker to lift the Stars to a 4-3 victory over the depleted Panthers on Thursday night.
Sceviour’s goal came on a backhand shot past third-string Panthers goalie Dan Ellis in the third round of the shootout. The Stars won their second game in a row after losing the previous six.
The Panthers lost their second straight as they struggle to replace injured goalies Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya.
Enroth came into the game with 7:32 left in the second period in relief of Kari Lehtonen, who allowed three goals on 14 shots. Enroth made 10 saves in regulation and overtime.
Enroth, who came to the Stars from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 11, recorded his first win for Dallas in five games. He has stopped 23 of 24 shootout shots.
He wasn’t fazed at all by coming into the game cold.
“If you tell yourself it’s going to be difficult, it’s difficult,” Enroth said. I told myself I was going to be fine. I prepare well for the game. I was pretty calm when they put me in.”
Enroth’s reputation in shootouts didn’t go unnoticed by the Panthers.
“We know this goalie is good in shootouts,” said Nick Bjugstad, who missed his chance in the third round. “I’ve got to hit the net there, got to find a way to score there. Super frustrating.”
Alex Goligoski, Shawn Horcoff and Curtis McKenzie scored in regulation for the Stars. Jonathan Huberdeau, Dmitry Kulikov and Brandon Pirri had goals for the Panthers.
Ellis, called up from San Antonio of the AHL on Wednesday due to the injuries to Luongo and Montoya against Toronto on Tuesday, made 29 saves in his first NHL appearance this season.
Luongo and Montoya were both hurt during a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs. Luongo will miss at least the next two games due to a shoulder injury, according to Panthers coach Gerard Gallant. Montoya will be sidelined at least two weeks with a groin injury.
The Panthers were further depleted by a sudden influx of the flu bug. Jaromir Jagr, Erik Gudbranson and Willie Mitchell were late scratches with illnesses, but Florida was still able to come away with a standings point.
“I’m not one for making excuses, but tonight it didn’t look too good coming into the game,” Gallant said. “We found out guys were sick, didn’t show up to the game, and then four guys played tonight pretty sick, too.”
The Panthers remain two points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“We would have loved to get two, but we got one,” Gallant said.
Goligoski tied it 3-3 when his shot from behind the right circle went high into the net with 7:39 left in the third.
The Panthers recorded only two shots in the third period.
Huberdeau gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead. His shot from the left circle went between Lehtonen’s pads with 7:32 left in the second.
The Panthers made it 2-2 on Kulikov’s breakaway goal. Jussi Jokinen made a pass from the left boards to Kulikov just inside the blue line. His shot from the slot went off Lehtonen’s glove and into the net at 8:15 of the second.
The Stars took a 1-0 lead 2:33 in. Huberdeau turned the puck over in the Panthers zone, and McKenzie shot from the right circle and beat Ellis between his pads.
Dallas doubled its lead on the goal by Horcoff, who grabbed the puck in the Panthers zone off Florida’s Aaron Ekblad. His wrist shot hit the stick of defenseman Brian Campbell and was redirected into the net at 12:41 of the first.
“We need wins now, and tonight was a good start,” Horcoff said.
Pirri made it 2-1 when he took a nice pass from Vincent Trocheck in the right circle and wristed a shot between the pads of Lehtonen with 3:00 left in the first. The goal was Pirri’s fourth in four games.
NOTES: Dallas played the first of a five-game road trip. … Ellis was acquired by the Panthers from Dallas exactly one year earlier. … Panthers G Sam Brittain was called up from Cincinnati of the ECHL to back up Ellis. … In the teams’ previous meeting, Dallas beat Florida 2-0 on Feb. 13. But the Stars lost leading scorer Tyler Seguin to a knee injury when he was checked from behind by Kulikov, who received a four-game suspension.
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