Heiskanen, Stars defeat Rangers in OT in season opener


NEW YORK — Miro Heiskanen scored 1:38 into overtime to give the Dallas Stars a 3-2 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

The Stars, playing their first game of the season, took advantage of a Rangers turnover in the offensive zone and Heiskanen was sprung by a pass from Jamie Benn. He scored from the right circle before Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba could recover.

“We got the puck on the blue line and [Benn] made a great pass for me,” Heiskanen said. “I was looking if it was a 2-on-1 or breakaway. I just tried to skate hard and go high blocker and it went in. It’s good.”

Jacob Peterson scored in his NHL debut, and Braden Holtby allowed two goals on 27 shots in his Stars debut before leaving because of dehydration with 11:53 remaining in the third period. Anton Khudobin made six saves and got the win in relief.

“He mentioned it to us in the second period and we tried to get some fluids into him after the second period,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said of Holtby’s dehydration. “As soon as he came off the ice he went on an IV. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

The Stars also lost defenseman John Klingberg to a lower-body injury, which he sustained in the first period but continued to play through the second. He didn’t return for the third.

Bowness said he was sore and would be re-evaluated Friday.

“He tried to play through it, but it just didn’t come around,” Bowness said.

Video: DAL@NYR: Holtby shuts the door on Strome

The Rangers (0-1-1) responded after going down 2-0 in the second period with goals from Adam Fox and Chris Kreider before the second intermission. 

Igor Shesterkin made 23 saves in his season debut after Alexandar Georgiev was in net for a 5-1 loss at the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

“They score that second goal and you’re saying, ‘Here we go again,'” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “But, no, we bounced back. I knew we weren’t going to collapse tonight in front of our fans in the building. We got our noses dirty a little bit in the offensive zone, did some good things and got back in the hockey game.”

Peterson gave Dallas a 1-0 lead at 19:25 of the first period, scoring after the Rangers committed a neutral zone turnover.

“You don’t really expect that in your first game,” Peterson said. “This was a special one.”

Radek Faksa made it 2-0 on a power play at 6:11 of the second period.

The Rangers, who had five shots on goal at the time Faksa scored, rallied after that.

“We got some good momentum and played really well,” Gallant said. “We were pretty dominant there for eight or nine minutes.”

Fox cut it to 2-1 with a shot from the blue line that redirected past Holtby off Esa Lindell‘s left skate at 8:43.

Video: DAL@NYR: Fox nets long shot off a deflection

Kreider scored on a net-front redirection of K’Andre Miller‘s shot from the point to tie it 2-2 at 15:54.

The Rangers outshot the Stars 17-3 in the second period after Faksa’s goal.

“We started playing more with the puck,” Kreider said. “We cycled. We were coming at them in waves. We were doing a good job of not turning pucks over, getting pucks to the net quickly, supporting each other, moving our feet. We have to do that for a full 60.”

The Rangers outshot the Stars 11-8 in the third period, but Khudobin’s play in relief of Holtby, particularly his five saves on a Rangers’ power play that started at 13:22, helped make the difference for Dallas. 

“They both played great,” Bowness said.” ‘Dobby’ steps in in a very tough situation. All of a sudden they’ve got a power play and he made some huge saves for us. They both played outstanding.”

The Stars also recognized the importance of the overtime win in their season opener because of what they endured last season, going 6-14 in games decided after regulation, including 4-8 in overtime.

They missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Discover Central Division by four points.

“You want to get that off your shoulder right away,” Stars forward Joe Pavelski said. “The extra points are huge. It was proven last year. You’re in the NHL, you’re playing teams that seem to get better every year. The skill level seems to go up and it’s a fine margin. These points are important, especially when you get a 2-0 lead. You want to finish those games. We took a different route to finish it, but we got it done.”

NOTES: Rangers defenseman Nils Lundkvist made his NHL debut, playing 14:19 with one shot on goal, five total shot attempts and three blocked shots. … The Rangers honored the late Rod Gilbert with a pregame ceremony that featured the Hall of Famer’s wife, Judy, dropping the ceremonial puck. The Rangers players all wore white jerseys with Gilbert’s No. 7 in warmups. They will wear a No. 7 patch all season. Gilbert died on Aug. 19. He was 80. … Defenseman Ryan Suter had an assist and blocked four shots playing 22:19 in his Dallas debut after signing a four-year contract July 28.

Video: Heiskanen leads Stars to 3-2 OT win over Rangers

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