Equal parts payback for the way last season ended and starting
the new season in style, the Stars rode their early burst to a 4-1
victory in the opener Wednesday night.
Sergei Zubov and Stu Barnes scored 30 seconds apart to get
Dallas going, then Zubov made a superb play to set up Barnes for
another goal. Bill Guerin added the finale on a breakaway midway
through the third period.
"What a great way to start the season," Stars coach Dave
Tippett said. "There was a lot of pent-up frustration. Our guys
answered the physical challenge, we were able to score a couple of
goals off Giguere and we were off and running."
The Ducks didn't look anything like the team that rode Giguere
through the playoffs, going from the Western Conference's seventh
seed to forcing a seventh game in the Stanley Cup finals. They were
flat early and couldn't recover.
Then again, this isn't the same Anaheim team. Paul Kariya is
gone, and Sergei Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal are in. Giguere also
has had a few months to cool off from the hot stretch that earned
him the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, then a $19.5
million, four-year contract this summer.
"After this game, you don't say that's a quick, skilled or
hardworking team," Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. "The playoff
race started tonight and we're down one game."
The Stars were the conference's top seed going into the playoffs
last season, then went down in six games in the second round. The
biggest offseason shakeup was losing captain Derian Hatcher, a
Dallas' emotions seemed to come out early as Guerin and
Anaheim's Todd Simpson mixed it up just 20 seconds in, then John
Erskine of the Stars and Garrett Burnett of the Ducks rolled on the
ice before the game was even two minutes old.
While the four of them were sitting out five-minute penalties,
Zubov smashed a long, straight-on sizzler on a power play just 2:27
into the game, then a half-minute later Barnes flicked in a shot
from the left circle that Giguere should've seen.
"They outworked us in the beginning and we can't be satisfied
with that," said Giguere, who finished with 18 saves.
"Personally, I'm unhappy with the way I showed up tonight. I felt
like I was slack out there. There's no excuses."
Fedorov's Anaheim debut coincidentally came on the 10-year
anniversary of the first game in Mighty Ducks history: a 7-2 loss
to Detroit in which he scored the winning goal and had two assists
for the Red Wings.
His best scoring chance this time came on a power play late in
the first period, when he swatted a point-blank shot at a seemingly
open net. Stars goaltender Marty Turco spun in time to snatch it
with his glove.
"It's just a rough start," said Fedorov, who took four shots
in a team-high 24:11 and was minus-3. "But I personally don't kid
myself. I knew it would be a hard road."
The Ducks don't have much time to lament the loss. They'll be in
Detroit on Thursday night, letting Fedorov get his homecoming out
of the way.
Turco made 20 saves and looked comfortable despite a limited
preseason after a holdout that ended with him signing a $12
million, three-year deal. He's coming off a debut season as the
full-time starter in which he set a modern-day record for
"It was a fun game," he said. "We were energetic to start
off, and we kept it going for 60 minutes."
Rob Niedermayer got Anaheim within 2-1 late in the first with a
power-play goal on a perfect give-and-go with Joffrey Lupul, the
seventh overall pick of the 2002 draft who was making his NHL
Mike Modano, Dallas' new captain, assisted on Zubov's goal. He
now has 44 assists and 63 points against Anaheim, the most by a
Mighty Ducks opponent in both categories.
Modano's linemate Jere Lehtinen, who last season was named the
league's top defensive forward for a third time, left in the second
period because of a shoulder injury. He was hurt in a first-period
collision with Anaheim's Jason Krog. Tippett said it wasn't a
While the Stars enjoyed their 238th straight sellout,
including playoffs, the vast number of empty seats is a good
indicator the streak could end as soon as next Wednesday against
Edmonton. ... Anaheim fell to 2-9 in openers. ... Since moving to
Dallas, the Stars are 6-1-4 in opening games and 8-2-1 in home