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Faksa helps Stars win in Stanley Cup Playoff debut

Rookie forward scores first goal of series against Wild

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars rookie forward Radek Faksa scored the game-winning goal in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut Thursday, a 4-0 victory against the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series.

Faksa, who Dallas selected in the first round (No. 13) in the 2012 NHL Draft, opened the scoring on a wrist shot from the slot that beat Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk high over his glove.

"It was a big goal for us because it started us off. After that, we kind of controlled the game," Faksa said.

Faksa made his NHL debut on Oct. 17, 2015, at the Florida Panthers and had 12 points (seven assists) in 45 regular-season games.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff feels that experience helped prepare Faksa for what he faced on Thursday in his postseason debut.

"We've been trying to get him all the experience we could get him this past couple months, and he's really played well for us. We tried to keep everything as normal as possible," Ruff said. "I just wanted to continue to play him and use him the way I had been. He's been playing a big role for us in Tyler [Seguin]'s absence."

Video: MIN@DAL, Gm1: Faksa finishes feed from Hemsky

Faksa battled injuries in junior and also last season, his first as a professional. The 22-year-old Czech was first recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League on Oct. 16, and after being returned to the AHL, he was recalled a second time on Dec. 30 and has been in the NHL ever since.

Three other Stars also made his playoff debut in Game 1. Defenseman John Klingberg led all Dallas skaters in ice time at 26:10. Defenseman Stephen Johns and forward Mattias Janmark, who missed the final three regular-season games with an upper-body injury, were the others.

Faksa admitted his nerves did get the better of him prior to Game 1.

"I was a little bit nervous, I won't lie," he said. "Every guy is nervous for their first NHL playoff. I am glad we won, but it's just the first step. It will still be a long series for us."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is in Dallas on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, FS-N, FS-WI, FS-SW).

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