The Stars played well enough to earn two points in the standings tonight, sadly though they only managed to get one while the Nashville Predators stole the second point as Preds rookie Mike Santorelli scored in the 5th round of the shootout while Loui Eriksson couldn't match him.
It was a somewhat disappointing end to a wildly entertaining game that the Stars for the most part had firm control of - out shooting the Preds 40 to 27.
Recap of the game after the jump...
The game has an auspicious start with Mike Modano taking a tripping penalty 41 seconds into the game and former Dallas Star Jason Arnott scoring about a minute later into the power play after taking a series of whacks at a loose puck in the goal mouth area that managed to just creep by Marty Turco.
Despite the slow start the Stars managed to quickly find their game creating plenty of chances around the Nashville goal. Unfortunately the team seemed a collective step behind their offensive plays with a lot of scoring chances going as near misses. When the Stars did manage to get the puck on net, former Dallas Star (there are those words again..) Dan Ellis was there to put up a wall.
The second period didn't start much better either as the Stars continued to be frustrated by Ellis' goaltending work. The Preds did lose a man as J.P Dumont was violently checked into the boards by Stephane Robidas. The play seemed to be innocent enough as Dumont was reaching out to poke the puck towards the middle of the ice while Robidas was doing his defensive duty by taking the man and finishing his check. That injury didn't see to slow Nashville down though as four minutes in Turco's flopping fish act helped give the Preds a 2-0 lead with a Steve Sullivan goal.
After that goal though the game pretty much became property of the Stars only to be turned away by Ellis time and time again. It wasn't until the last minute of play in the second period when James Neal gave the Stars a very much needed boost scoring a beautiful one time goal off a rebound from a hard Fabian Brunnstrom wrist shot that bounced directly off Ellis and onto Neal's stick.
Early into the third period after Ben Guite took a penalty for catching Brenden Morrow with a high stick that was only worth two minutes but maybe should have been worth four, James Neal made it all a bit of a moot point as he scored off a brutal up-the-middle-of-the-ice giveaway by Dan Ellis to tie the score up at two all.
The Stars continued to apply a great amount of pressure starting the third period by out shooting the Preds 11-1, but Ellis recovered from his error and again put up the force field. No more scoring in the third despite a bunch of chances for the Stars and a few quality tries for the Preds. Overtime settled nothing - again with some quality chances for both teams who enjoyed brief power plays in the extra frame.
Into the shootout the shots went as follows:
Steve Sullivan was stopped trying to go five hole on Turco.
James Neal fired the puck past Ellis, but couldn't beat the post.
Marcel Goc (there was some confusion from the refs - possibly Preds coach barry Trotz meant to write #19 for Arnott instead of #9) was poke checked away by Turco
Mike Ribeiro scored on a nice looking deke that was slid under Elis five hole. Stars up 1-0.
David Legwand scored on a beautiful looking forehand to backhand to top shelf deke. Tied 1-1
Richards tried to go five hole with some speed by Ellis stopped him.
Martin Erat was stopped by Turco.
Modano was stopped on a rather plain looking attempt.
Mike Santorelli scored for Nashville going low glove side after coming in with a bunch of speed that Marty Turco wasn't able to match.
Loui Eriksson stopped on the final attempt as he tried to go low on Ellis again but was stopped.
James Neal - Two goals and was by far the biggest threat all night.
Jamie Benn - The kid didn't look out of place at all and the puck always seemed to find his stick. Great sign for him early on.
Brad Richards - Eight shots taken in the game and along with Neal looked dangerous.
Mike Modano - Poor work in the faceoff circle all night and very uninspired effort in the shootout.
Loui Eriksson - 0 shots and was almost invisable all game.
Razor Reaugh guaranteed a win tonight's in the home opener - promising a ticket for every fan in attendance if they didn't come through. Wonder if he'll follow through...
Meanwhile on the farm:
Texas Stars won their first AHL regular season game ever as they topped the San Antonio Rampage at the AT&T Center, 3-2 in overtime.
Next Up for Dallas:
On the road as they head up to Edmonton for a game against the Oilers on Tuesday.