In this edition of Stars News & Rumors, Dallas begins their season with an overtime win against the New York Rangers, two key injuries on opening night, and Jacob Peterson shines in his NHL debut!
Stars Defeat Rangers in Overtime On Opening Night
It was an intriguing game on Thursday from Madison Square Garden. The Stars took a 2-0 lead early in the second period only to see it evaporate. After dominating much of the first 30 minutes of the game, Dallas got on their heels and watched the Rangers outshoot them 15-3, tying the game at two.
“Terrible puck management. We just kept giving them the puck. We just made it way too easy for a very highly skilled team to play in the second period.”
No goals were scored in the third period and Stars fans held their breath as the game headed to overtime. Last season, Dallas had a 6-14 record past regulation, a large reason why they missed the postseason. However, early in overtime, Miro Heiskanen took a pass from Jamie Benn and sniped a shot into the top left corner to give the Stars a win in their opening game.
Dallas returns to the ice Saturday night against the Boston Bruins from TD Garden in Boston.
Klingberg & Holtby Injury Update
In the third period of Thursday nights’ win over the Rangers, John Klingberg and Braden Holtby both left the game with apparent injuries. Klingbergs’ departure seemed to result from a hard hit from Chris Kreider in the first period, where his legs were awkwardly bent beneath him. After limping to the locker room, he returned to the ice for a few shifts only to leave for good at the end of the second period. The diagnosis is a lower-body injury that will be further checked tomorrow, but there seems to be optimism that it is not a severe injury.
“John is sore and we will see what he looks like tomorrow.”
Holtby was nearing the end of his Stars debut, in which he was playing incredibly well. A few minutes after taking a stick to the helmet, he left the game and did not return. Stars head coach Rick Bowness confirmed that the veteran goaltender did not sustain an injury but was dehydrated, leaving the game to be put on an IV. He is expected to be fine moving forward, likely an option for Saturdays’ game. Anton Khudobin stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief, including an onslaught on the Rangers power play in the third.
If both players are immediately available, Dallas will have dodged a familiar bullet early in the season. Last season, multiple key players were injured either before the season or in the first few games, a theme that continued throughout the year. If either player misses an extended period, Jake Oettinger and Thomas Harley will be the top candidates for a call up to fill the respective voids. However, these transactions will be tricky this season, with Dallas so near to the salary cap.
Peterson Shines In NHL Debut
Jacob Peterson headed into the summer a long shot to make the Stars opening night lineup. The 22-year-old Swedish forward took part in his first NHL camp and was still growing accustomed to the smaller rinks in North America. However, he found himself in the lineup on opening night after impressive development and training camp. Not only is making your NHL debut a big deal, but it also came at Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena.
“First NHL game, MSG, it doesn’t get any better than this. But he’s earned that opportunity to play. We’ve talked in camp that he’s been special, he’s been very, very good. You can tell he’s played at an elite level, he’s 22, so he’s not going to be intimidated by the surroundings. He’s just a good player. He’s got hockey sense, he’s got really good skills and he’s got the confidence to use them.”
Peterson played alongside Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski while Jason Robertson rehabs an upper-body injury back in Dallas. He took nearly no time to prove that he belonged, scoring his first NHL goal late in the first period. After intercepting the puck at center ice, he made a slick deke past a Rangers defenseman and tucked a backhand shot inside the near side post. In 16:35 of ice time, the rookie was noticeable on both sides of the ice.
“It was fun. I didn’t expect to score in the first period, but I’m feeling good. It was fun to score.”
It is clear that he is a smart playmaking forward that will likely stick around the NHL for a while. When Robertson returns from injury, Peterson should return to a line with Tyler Seguin, with who he had excellent chemistry with throughout the preseason. On top of his excellent play, the youngster has seemingly gained the trust of his coaches very early in his career.
“He fit right in, I’m really happy for him. I was never worried about him. I think you saw the trust right from the first shift from us playing with him, and then the last shift from Bones (Rick Bowness) starting him in overtime. He’s earned it, and he’s getting an opportunity now.”
One game down, one victory for the Dallas Stars. The season began with a wild ride that featured just about everything, something Stars fans are all too familiar with. It was far from perfect, with plenty of nervous moments, but it is still a win. Dallas will continue on their four-game road trip, taking them through Boston, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh over the next five days. They will then return home to play their home opener against the Los Angeles Kings on October 22.
Sam Nestler is a Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the NHL and NCAA. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!