Loui Eriksson scores 2, including OT winner, as Stars beat Devils 4-3

Friday, October 8, 2010

Eriksson scores 2, Stars beat Devils 4-3 in OT

NEWARK, N.J. — Loui Eriksson scored two goals, including the winner 1:36 into overtime, to give the Dallas Stars a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Eriksson skated the length of the ice in overtime, beating Martin Brodeur from the right circle.

Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards scored for Dallas.

Travis Zajac, Zach Parise and Jason Arnott New Jersey’s goals.

Dallas is rebuilding, having missed the playoffs the last two seasons. Mike Modano and Marty Turco left over the summer with Kari Lehtonen replacing Turco in goal. Their younger replacements showed a lot spunk in front of a full house of 17,625 at the Prudential Center. After a shaky start, Lehtonen settled down to make 27 saves.

At the other end, Brodeur extended his own NHL record of consecutive season-opening starts by a goalie with one team to 16. He made 24 saves to launch his 18th season.

John MacLean debuted as Devils head coach, replacing Jacques Lemaire who retired.

The top line of Ilya Kovalchuk, Parise and Zajac staked the Devils to a 2-0 lead.

Zajac, taking a return pass from Kovalchuk, beat Lehtonen between the pads 2:45 into the game. Kovalchuk, the Devils $100 million wing, again assumed the role of playmaker on a two-on-one break that developed when Stars defenseman Mark Fistric fell down at his own blue line. Kovalchuk dished a pass to Parise, who beat Lehtonen from the left side at 7:13.

Kovalchuk was unlucky midway through the period when he clanged a shot off the post. That miss proved crucial about a minute later as Morrow scored for the Stars at 11:16, hammering home a crisp cross-ice pass from Mike Ribeiro to cut the New Jersey lead to 2-1.

Morrow’s goal was a momentum changer as the Stars dominated the second period, outshooting the Devils 12-5 while getting goals from Eriksson and Richards to make it 3-3.

Eriksson pulled Dallas even at 3:02 as he chipped James Neal’s rebound over Brodeur.

Arnott put New Jersey up 3-2 with a power-play blast from the right point at 10:22.

The Stars came right back with Richards capitalizing on a turnover in the Devils zone to pull Dallas even at 11:38.

Both teams had quality chances in the third period.

Richards bid for another goal hit the post about three minutes in. Lehtonen, under pressure most of the period, made a blocker save on Kovalchuk and came way out of the net to stop Patrik Elias. Lehtonen also got some help as defenseman Stephane Robidas hit the ice to block a bid by Jamie Langenbrunner.

The Devils outshot the Stars 13-3 in the third.

NOTES: It’s a busy opening weekend for both teams as they have games on Saturday. The Devils travel to Washington for the Capitals’ home opener while the Stars head to Long Island. … The Devils recalled D Matt Taormina from Albany (AHL) on Friday and demoted C Adam Henrique. … MacLean played 14 seasons for New Jersey. He is the club’s all-time leader with 347 goals. He is second with 701 points and third with 354 assists. … The teams meet again in Dallas on Feb. 22. … It was the first time Dallas started the season without a member of the 1999 Stanley Cup winning team on the active roster.

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