- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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The first period of the season is in the books, and the Dallas Stars are down 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center in Newark.
New Jersey scored just 2:45 into the game off the rush when Ilya Kovalchuk set up Travis Zajac, who slipped the puck past Kari Lehtonen from the bottom of the left circle.
The Devils made it 2-0 at the 7:13 mark when Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric fell down, creating a two-on-one and Kovalchuk set up Zach Parise scored from the right circle on Lehtonen, who was taken out of the play by a sliding Trevor Daley.
Kovalchuk almost made it a 3-0 game a short time later in the period, but his shot from the left circle hit the post and not long after that the Stars finally got on the board.
Mike Ribeiro sent a nice cross-ice pass to Brenden Morrow, who beat Devils goalie Martin Brodeur from close range at the 11:16 mark.
Lehtonen allowed two goals on New Jersey’s first four shots, but settled in as the period moved along and looked sharp.
A few statistical notes from the first 20 minutes:
Shots were even at 11 apiece
The Stars won 13 of 17 faceoffs
Mike Ribeiro won 5 of 6 draws and Brad Richards won 4 of 5
The Stars had the only power play of the period and did not score
Ilya Kovalchuk had two assists and a plus-two rating for the Devils