DALLAS (AP) — Marcel Goc scored two third-period goals, and the Florida Panthers spoiled Lindy Ruff’s debut as Dallas coach with a 4-2 victory against the Stars in the season opener on Thursday night.
The Panthers erased a 2-1 deficit with goals about 4 minutes apart. Goc’s goal followed the tying tally by 18-year-old Aleksander Barkov, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft.
Goc’s second goal was an empty-netter.
The Stars debuted new “Victory Green” jerseys and several key players, but fell apart soon after they took their first lead.
Barkov’s goal came with bodies piling 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.
Goc put Florida in front when he took a centering pass from Tomas Fleischmann and beat Lehtonen with 4:55 remaining.
Tim Thomas made 24 saves for Florida.
Three minutes before Barkov’s goal, Brenden Dillon gave Dallas a 2-1 lead with a short-handed goal. He trailed a play that was started near center ice by Vernon Fiddler and put the puck in an open net after Thomas stopped Antoine Roussel.
The Stars pulled even at 1 in the second period when Alex Chiasson went behind the net and stuffed the puck past Thomas, Tom Gilbert and Brian Campbell as they converged. The Panthers trio knocked the net loose just as Chiasson’s shot crossed the goal line.
Dallas’ Ryan Garbutt and Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov were ejected in the first period when they started fighting a few moments after Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver and Roussel fought. The sequence started when Weaver shoved Roussel after the Stars forward kept poking at the puck in Thomas’ pads.
Roussel received a 10-minute misconduct, but wasn’t ejected, and was given an extra 2-minute penalty for instigating.
Scott Gomez, a 14-year veteran in his first season with the Panthers, opened the scoring with a backhand shot from the crease after a pass from behind the net by Scottie Upshall.
The Panthers went on the power play for the final 2 minutes of the first period shortly after Gomez’s goal on a hooking call against Erik Cole. Florida spent almost the entire penalty in the offensive zone, and the Stars survived a scramble for the puck in front of the net before Jamie Benn cleared it in the final seconds of the period. NOTES: Ruff, who spent 15 seasons with Buffalo, was on the Panthers’ original coaching staff in 1993. He stayed until the Sabres hired him in 1997.