After earning points in their first two games of the season, the Dallas Stars will try to do it again on the road against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, and perhaps this time they can avoid going to extra time.
The Stars notched a shootout victory in their season opener last Thursday against the St. Louis Blues, while the Vegas Golden Knights got the best of them in another shootout on Tuesday.
The matchup at Vegas was an early repeat of the Western Conference finals, which Vegas won in six games before moving on to win the first Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
“It’s a good point on the road for us,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said. “Our execution looked like we haven’t played in five or six days. It was our second game of the year. We have areas to improve. We’ll take the point and move forward.”
The defensive-minded Stars have picked up right where they left off last season, allowing just three regulation-time goals in their first two games. However, they have also scored just three goals in regulation.
As dependable as that defense has been, Dallas did give up the game-tying goal to Vegas’ William Karlsson with 2:59 left to play in the third period.
Jamie Benn, Craig Smith and Joe Pavelski have each scored for Dallas this season, while Jason Robertson remains in search of his first point after leading the team with 109 last season. He also had a team-best 46 goals in 2022-23.
Robertson, who had at least one point in four of his first five games last season, is making a homecoming after growing up in nearby Arcadia, Calif., until he was 10. The family reportedly had Los Angeles Kings’ season tickets in those days.
Trying to distance themselves from five consecutive losing seasons, including a last-place finish in the Western Conference last season, the Ducks lost their season opener on Saturday to the champion Golden Knights. But they rebounded in emphatic fashion with a 6-3 victory in their home opener against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
Anaheim’s Frank Vatrano finished off a hat trick into an empty net with just over a minute remaining. Despite the offensive onslaught, Trevor Zegras did not record a point and has been held without one over the first two games after leading the team with 65 (23 goals, 42 assists) last season.
Defenseman Pavel Mintyukov scored his first career goal in the game against the Hurricanes, Jackson LaCombe earned his first career point with an assist on Mintyukov’s first-period score and Ryan Strome had two assists while earning his 400th career point.
“It’s great to get a hat trick, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win the game,” Vatrano said. “So top to bottom, goaltending, defense, forwards, we had a lot of milestones (Sunday) as well, throughout the team.”
It was also the first career win for new Ducks coach Greg Cronin, who took over after Dallas Eakins was fired at the end of last season.