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Stephan earns first NHL win, Stars score early in 4-2 victory over Wild

NHL.com @NHL

DALLAS - Tobias Stephan made 19 saves to earn his first NHL win, Brenden Morrow scored 13 seconds into the game, and the Dallas Stars handed Minnesota its first loss in regulation, beating the Wild 4-2 Wednesday night.

Stephan, filling in for slumping Marty Turco, made his first start of the season and second of his career. Turco has a 4.26 goals against average and gave up six goals in a loss to Washington on Saturday night.

The Stars jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first, forcing goalie Niklas Backstrom out of the game in favour of backup Josh Harding, who played the final two periods.

Dallas got off to a fast start when Backstrom couldn't clear the puck in the opening moments. Off an assist from Mike Ribeiro, Morrow scored from the right circle.

Marc-Andre Bergeron and Andrew Brunette had power-play goals for the Wild (6-1-1), who had allowed just 14 goals coming into the game.

Steve Ott and Brad Richards each had goals in the first, and Sean Avery had two assists for the Stars. Matt Niskanen added a power-play goal, the first allowed by the Wild after killing the first 24 this season.

Backstrom, who entered with a 1.98 goals-against average, stopped 10 of 13 shots in the first period. He had played every minute this season before Harding come on and made 19 saves on 20 shots.

The Stars have yielded an NHL-high 40 goals. Their defence tightened in front of Stephan after Bergeron's goal at 6:13 of the first.

Dallas took the lead for good at 12:45 when Ott jammed a loose puck past Backstrom, who was 11-0-1 in his last 12 games. Richards and Avery earned assists.

Richards capped the first period with his third goal of the season at 15:39.

That was more than enough support for Stephan, who made an emergency start for the Stars against Chicago on Oct. 13, 2007.

The rookie appeared jittery early Wednesday. The first time Stephan handled the puck behind the net, he stumbled and fell.

He settled down after that. Brunette's goal in the third went in off the back of Dallas defenceman Mark Fistric's leg.

Notes: Minnesota RW Marian Gaborik missed his sixth straight game with an unspecified lower body injury. ... Ott (groin) had missed three games. ... Minnesota RW Antti Miettinen, who signed with the Wild as a free agent after playing in Dallas last season, had an assist in his first game against his former team.

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