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Stars hand Flames first loss @NHLdotcom

Friday was a night of firsts at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Five Dallas players scored their first goals of the season and the Stars got their first victory with a 5-2 win over Calgary -- handing the Flames their first loss after a 4-0-0 start.
Mike Ribeiro, Brian Sutherby, Tom Wandell, Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards scored for Dallas against backup Curtis McElhinney, who played his first game of the season and wasn't as sharp as Dallas backup Alex Auld, who made 21 saves and won in his first appearance with the Stars.

"I felt good -- I had a lot of help," said Auld, who played with Ottawa last season. "It was my first chance to make an impression, and it turned out pretty good. I got a lot of help -- for the most part, I was able to see every shot. The defense did a good job of tying up sticks and keeping everything to the outside."

Auld certainly made a good impression on his new coach, Marc Crawford.
"I thought he managed the game well," Crawford said after getting his first win with Dallas.

Dion Phaneuf and Rene Bourque had power-play goals for Calgary, which has never started a season with five consecutive wins.

The Flames came into the game off a 4-3 shootout win at Edmonton on Thursday, while the Stars had lost shootouts to the Oilers and Nashville Predators in their first two games and hadn't played since Tuesday. Auld said the Stars benefitted from facing a team that had played the night before.

"I think we took advantage of a team that was playing back-to-back," he said. "They'd been riding high, and they were coming off a big emotional win last night, and we were here waiting for them. That was definitely an advantage for us."

Calgary forward Fredrik Sjostrom said the Flames weren't as good as they had been in their first four games.

"We played a decent game," he said. "We didn't play bad. But at certain points, I don't know if it was lacking focus or tiredness, we made some mistakes and Dallas capitalized on them."

Dallas got off to a fast start when Ribeiro scored his first of the season just 62 seconds into the game, the first time in three games that the Stars haven't had to play from behind after surrendering an early goal. Ribeiro was alone in the slot when he picked up the deflection of Stephane Robidas' point shot and wristed it into an open far corner past a screened McElhinney.

"I think we had a game plan we wanted to execute in the first period, and we did a great job of that," Auld said. "Getting the first goal, right off the bat, set the tone."

That came on the Stars' first shot of the game, but McElhinney stopped the next 14 in the period, while Auld made 11 saves. McElhinney kept it a one-goal game with just under four minutes to go in the period when he dove from right to left to stop Eriksson on a wide-open rebound during a power play. Dallas' Steve Ott had his arms in the air to celebrate a goal, only to see McElhinney snag the puck with his glove.

Sutherby made it 2-0 just 55 seconds into the second period off a nice passing play. Ribeiro made a slick backhand pass from the slot to Toby Petersen, who was standing to the right of McElhinney. He left a little touch pass for Sutherby, who quickly lifted the puck over the goaltender's glove.

Scoring early in each of the first two periods "was huge," Auld said. "We felt we'd played well in parts of the first two games, but we were unable to put full games together. Setting the tone right off the bat (of the period) was huge for us. We were able to stick to our game plan throughout the game."

Calgary got on the board at 4:17 when its power play clicked for the sixth time in 13 tries this season. On the faceoff after Ott was called for interference, Jarome Iginla won the draw back to Dion Phaneuf at the right point. Phaneuf took a step to his left, fired through a screen and caught the far corner, putting some life back in the Saddledome crowd.

Dallas got its two-goal lead back at the 9-minute mark when McElhinney stopped Wandell's 45-foot wrist shot from the right wing, only to see the puck pop into the air, trickle behind him and slide into the net.

"He's probably want that third goal back," assistant coach Rob Cookson said of McElhinney. "I thought he battled hard. He didn't get a lot of support."

The Stars looked like they had scored four minutes into the third period; instead, Ott was called for goaltender interference before the puck went into the net -- and the Flames cashed in. Mark Giordano's right-point slapper was blocked by defenseman Nicklas Grossman, but the puck came right to Bourque, whose quick wrister from the right circle was in the net at 5:17 before Auld could react.

It was Bourque's second power-play goal of the season -- two more than he scored in 2008-09, when he had a career-high 21 goals.
But Eriksson escaped Jay Bouwmeester's check in front of the net and knocked in Richards' pass with a backhander at 9:25 to put the Stars ahead by two again and quiet the increasingly loud sellout crowd. It was the first goal of the season for Eriksson, who signed a six-year contract just before the season after scoring 36 times in '08-09.

Richards' empty-netter with 47 seconds left closed out the victory.

"We'll build some momentum out of this," Crawford said. "There were a lot of real positives. This was a pretty good team win."
--John Kreiser,

Material from team online and broadcast media was used in this report

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