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Stars cough up 2-0 lead vs. Panthers as Wild Card race tightens

Apr 6, 2014, 7:53 PM EDT

SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 6: Goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers defends the net against the Dallas Stars at the BB&T Center on April 6, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. Getty Images

Dallas had an opportunity to put some breathing room between them and the Phoenix Coyotes in the battle for the final Wild Card spot. They squandered it.

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin gave the Stars a 2-0 lead, but the Florida Panthers came back to earn a 3-2 victory tonight.

Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo turned aside 35 of 37 shots, including 16 in the third period to give Florida a chance to pull off this comeback.

Scottie Upshall and Brandon Pirri each found the back of the net for the Panthers in the second period. Sean Bergenheim netted the deciding goal with 4:31 minutes to spare in regulation.

With this loss, both the Stars and Coyotes have four games left and Dallas’ lead is just a point. Neither team can realistically hope to finish with more than the second Wild Card seed and they are the only two serious competitors left for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.

To make things more intriguing, Dallas and Phoenix are set to play against each other in one of the final games of the regular season on Sunday.

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