Talk about a very fast start for the Stars. Two quick goals both in the opening minute of both the first and 2nd periods were huge parts in getting the Stars over the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 where the Stars have their first 3 game winning streak since the middle of the 2008-2009 season. On a night where Mike Modano took a homecoming bow during the game's first TV Timeout, they were intended to dampen the Red Wings hopes as they have dominated the Stars on home ice in recent years.
What were seeing from the Stars is a building confidence that the Stars can be one of the big NHL Surprise stories this season as Kari Lehtonen has gotten off to a great start in all 3 games, Brad Richards took his early scoring total to 7 points with another goal and 2 assists, James Neal plugged in his first goal of the year while Riberio is quickly looking to put his arrest ordeal behind him by 2 assists and Brendan Morrow is quickly putting his off-season last year to rest with another great performance.
During the first TV Timeout of the game, the fans gave Mike Modano a standing obviation. One of the best signs showed "90 is just a number while #9 is forever" just to name a few. With the game already put away Midway through the 3rd period, Nickolas Kronwall scored the Red Wings only goal of the game to make it the 4-1 final where the only value proved to be to just end Kari Lehtonen's Shutout attempt.
This takes Dallas to 3-0 with the St. Louis Blues coming to town on Saturday Night, while the Red Wings continue their road trip to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes tomorrow night.
Detroit Red Wings VS. Dallas Stars Game Highlights
Detroit Red Wings 1 Dallas Stars 4 (0-1, 0-3, 1-0)
Game Story from John Tranchina the Dallas Stars Website
From Dallas: What was supposed to be an emotional return of the former face of the franchise turned into a dominating performance at both ends of the rink and a statement by the Stars that a team to be reckoned with this season.
With former icon Mike Modano back in time for the first time was wearing number 90 for the first time as a visitor, the Stars brushed the nostalgic emotion aside and throttled the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 in their home opener Thursday Night in front of a sell out crowd at American Airlines Center of 18,532.
And in the end, it didn't really matter that Modano was wearing number 90 for the Stars Biggest Rivals, just that Dallas was able to take down one of the NHL's best teams in conving fashion.
The Stars have improved to 3-0-0 on the young season, putting together their first three game winning streak since January 2009.
Offensively, the Stars scored within the first minute in each of the first two periods and built up a four goal lead heading into the 3rd period.
Brad Richards lead the way with a goal and 2 assists, linemate James Neal had a goal and an assist and Loui Eriksson and Captain Brendan Morrow also found the back of the net. Mike Riberio continued his hot start to the season by adding two assists.
In goal, Kari Lehtonen delivered another outstanding outing, making 25 saves.
"Overall, I was comfortable there and it was a big game, with Mike back here and the home opener, so it was nice to have a good game and get the two points," Lehtonen said.
"We had a real strong night from Kari, he looked really comfortable tonight," Coach Crawford said. "What's nice about it, it doesn't even look like it that's much effort and when it looks as natural as he's making it look, you have to give him a great deal of credit of preparation and for his reading of the play. Most of the time he has very controlled, he was in position, he was on the shot, and that's the sign of a guy that's seeing the puck well."
Also helping the Stars cause was a solid performance on the penalty kill. After entering the league last, having nullified just 5-of-9 power play opposition, Dallas killed off the first four Detroit Man Advantage's opportunities before a late meanless, tally.
"I think they are so many good things to come from the victory tonight," Crawford said. "We scored early in the first and second periods and any time you do that, it gives a team such a lift. We got another outstanding goaltending performance from Kari Lehtonen, I thought our penalty killing was real good tonight. That's a dangerous power play. Other then scoring with 10 seconds left on the last penalty, we really did a terrific job - a big part of getting the saves. And I thought our defense as a whole unit tonight was very good. That's a challenging group of forwards on the other side."
Up 1-0 heading into the 2nd period despite being out-shot 7-3 in the first, the Stars quickly jumped out by two on Eriksson struck for his third of the year just 44 seconds in. Richards slid a ninfty pass out from behind the net out front where Eriksson snapped it between Detroit Goalie goaltender Chris Osgood pads and in.
"It was good to get that second goal and start the second period with a little momentum and a little attacking and we just kept going," Richards on scoring the goal.
The Stars made it a 3 goal advantage on Morrow's fourth of the young season off a fortunate bounce at 7:03. On the rush into the Detroit Zone, Riberio fed it to Morrow, and as he entered the left faceoff circle, the Dallas Captain attempted a cross ice pass that ricocheted off Red Wings Defender Brad Stuart and in.
It was almost 4-0 when Toby Petersen sped away on a short handed breakaway after stealing the puck from Wings Defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Dallas Blue Line, but Osgood denied his slap shot from the top of the left circle.
Dallas did reach four with 3:34 in the 2nd, an outstanding power play by Neal netted him his first of the season. After receiving a backhanded pass from Richards into the left corner, Neal outbetted Stewart in front of the puck and then jammed a backhander pass Osgood.
"James was strong on the goal that he got - he stayed on it, kept banging away," said Crawford, "and you can see that maybe part of his increased strength and better conditioning this year to be able to stay in those fights a bit longer.
Carrying a commanding a 4-0 lead into the final period despite registering 11 shots on goal, the Stars had to withstand a Detroit Surge and thanks primarily to Lehtonen, wheatherd the storm.
The Red Wings ended Lehtonen's shutout bid with 8:35 remaining on the power play. Todd Bertuzzi's slick pass from the right goalpost that found Kronwall's backdoor, sneaking into the left circle and resulting a one timer slipped past the diving Lethonen.
At that point, Detroit was outshooting the Stars 10-1 in the period. Something that seems to be turning into the trend for Dallas, something that is turning out to be a trend for Dallas. But the Stars stabilized things after that. Brandon Segal raced on a breakaway a couple of minutes later, and Dallas defended well through the final few minutes to defend the win.
Lehtonen didn't seem to mind that the Stars were out-shot 12-4 in the 3rd period.
"That's something that you enjoy, when the goals are already 4-0, you're enjoying the moment and when things are going your way, you don't have to think to much," he said. "Overall, I felt good and it's a great win."
With Modano on the ice for the opening faceoff, the stars quickly defused some of the bubbling emotion with a power play goal. Stuwart was whistled for boarding just 28 seconds into the game and the Stars Power Play unit needed just 13 seconds to convert, as Richards ripped a slap shot from the left point through a screened Osgood for his second goal of the season.
Some of the emotion returned at the first TV Time Out, when Modano was shown on the scoreboard video screen with the inscription, "Think You Mike" and received a standing ovation that appeared to bring the Stars fans icon to the brink of tears as he acknowledged the sell out crowd with a couple of waves.
"It was really nice. It is great to see, back to see familiar faces," Modano said. "There was a world of emotions and memories." A lot of special things have gone on where. I was involved in getting the game off the ground and helping to promote the game of hockey here in Texas. It was fun to play here."
"After 20 years in Dallas and in that uniform, it's a little different to see him in red and white," Morrow acknowledged. "You try not think about it after a shift and conecrate on what you need to do. But i'd be lying if I said it wasn't strange to see him in red and white."
The Stars had a golden opportunity to go up by two on the 2nd power play at 9:32, when Eriksson fed a pass from the left corner through the crease to Morrow low in the right circle for a long time, but Osgood made a spectacular shoulder save on it.
The Stars remain home for a date with the St. Louis Blues Saturday Night (7:30 PM), with a chance to make it 4 in a row.
"We're gaining some momentum and we really like the way we're playing," said Richards.
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