DALLAS – Kari Lehtonen stopped 37 shots, including 22 in the second period, to lead the Dallas Stars to a 2-1 opening night victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center Friday night.
Alex Goligoski and Jamie Benn scored for the Stars, who won in new coach Glen Gulutzan’s NHL debut.
“It’s a relief. Now I know I can win one. I thought the guys played really good. There’s room for improvement for us, for sure in a few little things that we want to do a little bit better, but these first games are full of emotion and sometimes you can get away from your structure. Chicago is a hard team to play against in a home opener because they’re so pacey and they’re well-coached and they’ve got good skill. That pace is the big thing and I thought we did a pretty good job with it and get better with it as we go.” – Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, on winning his NHL debut
“We know he’s a good coach and we know he’s a good fit here. It was good to get that first win for him and Paul (Jerrard, assistant coach).” – Stars forward Jamie Benn
“I think it has come together pretty quick. Guys are on the same page with the way we want to play. For periods of time we did that tonight and there were other times where we didn’t. That the way it goes. It’s a learning process. It’s a good first step. That’s a good team over there.” - Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski
The Stars had some excellent chances in the period, but Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made some big stops. He had two nice saves on Jamie Benn and another on a Mike Ribeiro redirection. Michael Ryder and Ribeiro had excellent chances late in the period.
Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen had some big saves as well, denying Marian Hossa on back-to-back shots and a nice stop on an Andrew Brunette backhand attempt.
The Stars held a 13-9 shots advantage in the first. Chicago had the only power play of the period.
The Dallas Stars were outshot 22-12 in the second period, but scored two goals in the period to take a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center.
The Stars took a 1-0 lead 59 seconds into the second period when Alex Goligoski scored on a slap shot from the left point.
After the killing off three Chicago power plays, the Stars scored a four-on-four goal to take a 2-0 lead when Sheldon Souray blasted a puck on net from the left point and Jamie Benn banged home the rebound with 3:58 left in the period.
Lehtonen was big again in the second, stopping all 22 shots he faced, including nine with Chicago on the power play.
The Blackhawks pulled goalie Corey Crawford with a little more than two minutes to go for the extra attacker. Nick Leddy spoiled Kari Lehtonen’s shutout bid when he scored with 14.0 seconds remaining in the game.
The game was delayed 5:09 into the third when a Jamie Benn hit on Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson broke a pane of a glass in the corner.
Injured: Burish (groin), Grossman (groin), Pardy (rib)