Jagr leads Dallas in 4-3 win over Phoenix

DALLAS, Texas – Jaromir Jagr proved he hasn’t lost any of his mojo in last night’s season and home-opener for the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The 40-year-old winger tallied two goals and two assists in his Dallas Stars debut, in which the team defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3. The last time Jagr scored four points came on Feb. 19, 2008 against Montreal when he registered four assists with the New York Rangers. “Don’t get too used to that guys (laughs), joked Jagr, the NHL’s active leader in goals, assists and points. “It was special. The first game is always special.” “That’s a pretty good one,” Head Coach Glen Gulutzan said of Jagr’s performance. “I don’t think you can ask for much more.” Jagr wasn’t the only 40-year-old on display as Ray Whitney posted a goal and an assist in his debut with the team. With their goals last night, Jagr and Whitney became the fourth pair of teammates over 40 years old to score a goal in the same game since the beginning of the Original Six era. Derek Roy also had an assist in the win – the last time at least three Stars recorded a point when making their debut with the team was on Oct. 5, 1993, the club’s first game in Dallas. Stephane Robidas appeared in his 800th-career game, tallying two assists and a game-high four blocked shots. The Stars went 2-4 on the power play with goals by Jagr and Whitney – the last time the team registered two power play goals in a game came on Dec. 31, 2011 against Boston. The penalty kill was 3-5 on the night. “They did a really good job there,” Gulutzan said. “They read off of each other. You got two brilliant minds there. They’re chattering all the time. So there’s a little chemistry going on already with those two. You got players of that caliber that can read of each other, you’re good shape.” Dallas took a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a wrister fed by Loui Erikkson. Special teams dominated the middle frame, beginning with a power play goal by the Coyotes’ Lauri Korpikoski to tie the game 1-1 at the 9:04 mark. Less than three minutes later, the Coyotes went ahead 2-1 on the man-advantage when Radim Vrbata beat Lehtonen. Jagr tied it up 2-2 at the 18:38 mark with a power play strike of his own. Ray Whitney’s power play goal 31 seconds into the third period gave the Stars a 3-2 lead but Radim Vrbata tallied the equalizer at the 3:30 mark, unassisted. Loui Erikkson scored the game-winner at the 13:05 mark, fed by Jagr and Derek Roy. Kari Lehtonen logged 59:55 of ice time in the game, pushing his total TOI to 20,048 over his career. In the game, Lehtonen turned away 37 of the 40 shots he faced. Gulutzan seemed impressed when asked about Lehtonen’s performance, especially without the benefit of any pre-season games. “Very solid,” Gultzan said. “Especially at the end, I thought he held the fort. Our system is based a little on that, a big goalie who can stop things. And I thought he gave us a real good game tonight. The game is tested often. I believe that was a good start for him.” The Stars got off to a good start on the attendance front. Saturday’s announced attendance was 18, 532, which is a sellout. The Stars will play the Minnesota Wild tonight at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Contact the writer at robert.keith@prohockeynews Follow us on Twitter: @prohockeynews

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