|Roussel exchanges pleasantries with an official in a file photo from the 2012-13 season. (Credit: Josh Rasmussen/Texas Stars)|
"The energy was really good today and we competed hard," said Roussel. "Our line was on the puck and all over them. We had our legs going pretty quick."
Coach Ruff agreed with the assessment: "We were a little sloppy in the first period; I didn't think we played well in our defensive zone. After that, it was a great compete game and we did a lot of great things."
In addition to the solid night from Roussel, Ruff heaped praise on his young defenseman for the win, saying they had a "strong night."
Chris Mueller also drew accolades from Ruff and got noticed by fans for some slick play in the offensive zone. He was rewarded with a goal late in the third to cap the scoring. Colton Sceviour also scored on the power play, his second of the preseason. Dan Ellis stopped 28 of 29 Florida shots in the win.
The lineup was dominated by players expected to play in both Texas and San Antonio, giving it a more AHL feel than NHL despite the jerseys and the coaches. Also, even thought the game was billed as a Panthers home game, the crowd was definitely tilted toward the Dallas/Texas side.
"It's fun to be back here and to see our fans coming out to the game," said Roussel. "Some fans can come out to the game because it's closer and that's good."
The pace of the game throughout seemed quick but it was a relatively quiet game overall. Antoine Roussel got things started early in the first period with a deflection off the shot of Trevor Daley. The puck bounced off a few players in front, including Florida's Dmitri Kulikov, and found twine behind Michael Houser. Jyrki Jokipakka picked up the second assist, as he was paired with Daley and got the play started out of the zone.
Dallas polished off the period with a Luke Gazdic-Eric Selleck bout, probably the 5th or 6th time these two have fought either in this building or at the Cedar Park Center. Gazdic handled Selleck easily as the referees allowed both players to fall to their knees and then continue fighting.
The second period started even more quickly for the Stars as Antoine Roussel was the recipient of a nice pass from Chris Mueller to make it 2-0. Mueller streaked down the left wing side and, as he crossed the goal line, slid the puck back to Roussel in the slot. Patrik Nemeth picked up the second assist.
Dallas and Florida traded penalties in the second period with the penalty kill units looking very familiar to anyone who followed Texas last year. Pairings included Wathier-Petersen, Eakin-Roussel, and on defense Nemeth-Oleksiak.
"Our penalty kill was rock solid," said Ruff. "We averaged maybe half a chance per power play, which is really good."
Gazdic wanted to go again in the final minutes of the period but instead picked up an unsportsmanlike as he threw off his gloves and his dance partner, Alex Petrovic, did not.
Colton Sceviour added another in the third period on the power play, finishing off a shot from Roussel, which trickled behind Michael Houser. Roussel's right wing blast was setup by .
The Stars capitulated quickly though as Luke Gazdic went to the box on a delay of game penalty. Florida scored almost immediately on Tom Gilbert's shot from the left point. Gilbert's goal broke up the shutout bid and set the score at 3-1. Chris Mueller padded things out a bit with thanks to the Panther's defense late in the third. Travis Morin generated a turnover behind the net and found a patient Mueller in the slot, where he dusted off the puck and beat Houser clean for the 4-1 final.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Tonight's attendance was 7,762.