By BILL WHITEHEAD
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Dallas Stars regrouped after falling behind by two goals early in the second period and rolled past the Florida Panthers.
Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn each scored twice to rally the Stars to a 4-2 victory over the Panthers on Saturday night.
Kari Lehtonen had 22 saves to help the Stars complete a successful Sunshine State swing, including a 5-3 win at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
"That last 40 minutes we did a real good job of getting inside and getting some good puck control and a lot of playing time in the offensive zone," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "I just liked the desperation (in our game)."
Aleksander Barkov and Brandon Pirri scored for Florida, and Roberto Luongo finished with 33 saves on 36 shots.
Seguin scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:02 left in regulation, backhanding in a rebound past Luongo, who stopped a long shot by John Klingberg.
"Gritty. Pretty greasy, pretty gritty. I?thought the boys worked hard, played a full 60 minutes and everyone is happy with that win," said Seguin, who has three goals on the season — all in the last two games.
He said his slow start is typical.
"At the beginning of the season, I’m always a little slow," Seguin said. "But for me I?think it starts in my own end.
"If I?have a good night in my own end and good on faceoffs, it means we’re in their end a lot, so I was happy with that in my game tonight."
Benn scored an empty-net goal in the last minute to seal the win.
"We got a little (upset) and just started to play our game to a higher level, trying to make them play at our level," said Benn, who has five goals. "We were trying to take over the game and we obviously did that."
Florida coach Gerard Gallant agreed, saying the better team won.
"We let them back in it. For the most part of the game, they were the better team. They deserved to win," the second-year Panthers coach said.
Barkov appeared to score the game’s first goal 59 seconds into the second period just 6 seconds after a power play ended on a circle-to-circle pass from Jonathan Huberdeau.
However, the goal was waved off for goaltender interference against Jaromir Jagr.
Replays showed Jagr was a couple of feet away from Lehtonen and clearly outside the crease. Gallant chose to use his coach’s challenge, the first in club history. After a lengthy review, Barkov was awarded his third goal of the season and Florida was allowed to keep its timeout.
"They made the right call, and on anything that close you’re going to challenge," Gallant said. "I looked up at the clock and said, `I think it’s going to count.’ I liked the look of it."
It marked the third straight game Barkov has scored a goal. The Finnish top line center scored the first goal of his career two years ago in Dallas in his first NHL game.
Pirri made it 2-0 just over a minute later when he led a 2-on-none break with Nick Bjugstad after Reilly Smith’s backhanded flip in the neutral zone sprung the two forwards.
Pirri, a 22-goal scorer last season, netted his first of the year but tripped and slid head-first into the boards. Shaken, he briefly went to the dressing room but soon returned.
Seguin took advantage of a steal by Patrick Sharp, who fed the speedy center into a breakaway against Luongo shortly after Pirri’s goal. Seguin beat Luongo low on the glove side at 6:31.
Seguin fed a pass to Benn for a power-play goal 50 seconds into the third period. Benn, charging hard to the net, slipped it past Luongo for his fourth goal to tie the game at 2-2.
"You can’t give teams like this life," Florida defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We’re up 2-0 and you just want to keep them sleeping.
"We were giving them opportunities to wake up — odd-man rushes and turnovers. We were giving them the opportunities to get their legs going."
NOTES: Dallas C Radek Faksa made his NHL debut skating on a line with Antoine Roussel and Colton Sceviour. Faksa, 21, was the 13th pick overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. The Czech forward was called up from Texas (AHL) after Curtis McKenzie was placed on injured reserve. … Sharp’s two assists were his first two points for Dallas after being acquired from Chicago. … The two clubs finish their season series next Saturday in Dallas. … Barkov’s three-game goal-scoring streak is a career high. … Four current Panthers played previously for Dallas — Jagr, Jussi Jokinen, Willie Mitchell and Smith.
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