Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Dallas Stars are headed to overtime.
You guessed it. Those damned Dallas Stars found themselves back in overtime just like they left off in last season’s finale. Once again pushing fans to the edge of their seats because hey, what’s better then 60 minutes of hockey? On Thursday night’s season opener, it was 61 1/2 minutes of hockey, roughly. Oh, and just like the season finale from the previous campaign, Stars fans celebrated a win.
The tilt didn’t come without hardships as both defenseman John Klingberg and goaltender Braden Holtby left the game and did not return. Seriously. Whoever has the voodoo doll I will happily take you to Whataburger every day for life if it will get you to knock it off. A Stars team that missed over 300 days of games last season, collectively, praised the elongated break making countless statements on how healthy this years squad was going into the NHL season. Hockey gods are still punishing us for ever letting Mike Modano wear another sweater in his career. (You are still a bum Babcock. Then. Now. Forever.)
Outside of Miro Heiskanen draping his “Miro the Hero” cape and winning the game in OT, the highlight of the night has to be the rookie, Jacob Peterson. Rumblings out of camp began to rise as the cuts narrowed the Stars down to their opening night roster. Thanks to the cap being a wet blanket, the initial surprise came in that Peterson was being sent down to the AHL affiliate Texas Stars alongside noted Av’s father Joel Kiviranta. Stars fans let out a collective exhale as it was later announced that both skaters would in fact be on Thursday night’s roster in Madison Square Garden. That would make the difference in a dramatic game one.
Peterson lead the charge alongside Roope Hintz in a two on one and would absolutely blast a backhander past Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin to put the Stars up by one in the 1st period. You know, just how head coach Rick Bowness drew it up. Regardless, that goal set the tone for a plethora of stellar plays in the 1st period capped off by what might be save of the year candidate by Braden Holtby.
Radek Faksa would also find the back of the net on a power-play goal. It seemed as if the Stars fired on all cylinders going into the 2nd period but that would not be the case. In a game that saw the Stars outshoot the Rangers 8-4 in the 1st period, the Rangers would absolutely pummel the Stars in the same category in the 2nd period outshooting the Stars 18 shots to 8. Two of those Rangers shots would find their way beyond Holtby as the Rangers took advantage of their ability to shoot pucks from the blueline, making their way through traffic like a pissed off teenage driver in Dallas.
Anton Khudobhin would take the place of Holtby in the 3rd period and would be the difference maker in the remainder of the match-up as he had a perfect night stopping all six shots he faced.
While a win is a win, Stars fans may want to stock up on whatever it is that helps calm their nerves. Maybe a nice candle? Perhaps a bottle of wine, or box? Maybe even a bath bomb? I wonder if they make those in cases of 82 for NHL season purposes. Regardless of what your vice may be, Stars fans can rest easy tonight know that they earned two points and are officially undefeated to start the 2021-22 NHL journey to the Stanley Cup.
Update: Per Saad Yousuf of The Athletic, Braden Holtby was dehydrated and Klingberg was taken out for overall soreness. The Stars are like Neo out of the Matrix tonight.