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Stars-Bruins takeaways: Rally falls short in opening night loss

Dallas battles back despite losing three players to injury, but Boston proves too tough to solve

by Jeff Odom @jeffodom / DallasStars.com

DALLAS -- The Stars were resilient Thursday in doing everything they could to battle back from a two-goal deficit right out of the gate and losing three key players to injury.

But in the end, the Bruins were simply too tough to solve.

 

[MORE COVERAGE: George W. Bush drops ceremonial puck before game | Stars vs. Bruins photo gallery]

 

Despite a gorgeous second-period goal by Roope Hintz on a partial breakaway, Dallas never found the tying marker it needed against Boston netminder Tuukka Rask in a 2-1 loss to open the regular season at sold-out American Airlines Center.

Here are three things to know from the game:

 

As injuries piled up, Stars never stopped fighting

Video: BOS@DAL: Hintz speeds past defense and scores

Blake Comeau, Jason Dickinson and Roman Polak each left the game and did not return because of injuries, leaving the Stars' bench shorthanded most of the game. 

In a frightening scene, Polak was stretchered off the ice and transported to the hospital for further evaluation after crashing into the corner boards head-first while battling for possession with Boston's Chris Wagner during the second period. Polak immediately fell onto the ice where he layed motionless for several minutes while being tended to by the medical staff. 

Stars coach Jim Montgomery said Polak has movement in all of his extremities and is "hopeful he may be a player again in a couple of days."

"We kind of didn't want to think about it there after it happened," Stars defenseman John Klingberg said. "We had to get back playing again. But it's tough to see a teammate go down like that."

The news wasn't as positive for Comeau and Dickinson, however, as both are expected to miss time.

Tweet from @jeffodom: Stars coach Jim Montgomery says Roman Polak has full use of his extremities and is feeling better at the hospital.Blake Comeau will miss multiple weeks. Jason Dickinson will be out at least a week.#GoStars

Comeau, who exited in the first after being bloodied by a puck to the face and falling awkwardly to the ice, could be out multiple weeks with a lower-body strain.

"Whether that's two or four (weeks), we don't know," Montgomery said.

Dickinson will be shelved at least a week, pending X-rays, after he was cross-checked and did not return for the final two periods. 

While the situation may have rattled some teams, the Stars took it as motivation and played their best hockey in the second and third with players taking on extra ice time.

"Those three guys are key players that we all know go to war for us," Montgomery said. "I loved the heart we played with, I loved the emotion we played with. Most nights, we would have been successful with the way the game went and the opportunities we had."

Mere moments after the game resumed following Polak's injury, Hintz took a feed from Mattias Janmark and broke free from two Boston defenders, depositing a shot past Rask. From there, the Stars kept firing, posting nine shots in the second and 16 in the third after totalling just four in the first.

Tweet from @DallasStars: Your first Stars goal of the 2019-20 season, courtesy of @RoopeHintz!#GoStars pic.twitter.com/OoCVKxovGx

They just couldn't get anything else by Rask, who denied arguably the Stars' best chance from Hintz with a ridiculous glove save in the final minutes.

"I thought everyone stepped up," Montgomery said. "Everyone got increased minutes and everybody did well with those minutes, so that was a positive is that we had a lot of people play well tonight."

 

Ritchie wasted no time scoring against former team

Video: DAL Recap: Hintz scores in 2-1 loss vs. Bruins

Sixty-nine seconds and one shot was all it took for former Stars winger Brett Ritchie to find the back of the net in his Dallas homecoming.

Ritchie, a second-round pick by the Stars in 2011, made quick work of a turnover at the blueline and walked the puck in toward the left circle before firing a wrister through Ben Bishop.

"It was a tough start for me" said Bishop, who also allowed a power-play goal to Danton Heinen on Boston's second shot later in the first. "I kind of lost it there. Ritchie's behind (Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera) in front of me and he just kind of surprised me real quick. It's a bad goal."

Ritchie, who had seven goals in 71 games last season, did not receive a qualifying offer from the Stars in the summer and signed a one-year contract with the Bruins in July.

"I'm still confident in what I can do," Ritchie said. "Big team, new opportunity, fresh start, whatever you want to call it -- I'm just going to try to take advantage of it."

 

Pavelski looked good, earning first point with Stars

Video: Pavelski on Stars debut in opening night loss

New Stars forward Joe Pavelski made his official debut and earned his first point, an assist on Hintz's goal.

Pavelski, who started on the top line with captain Jamie Benn and center Tyler Seguin, finishing with a plus-1 rating in 20:43 of ice time, said his first regular season game with Dallas was enjoyable despite the outcome.

"It felt good," he said. "It's been a gradual build up from July 1 when I signed. It's nice to get out there and play a meaningful game -- get the crowd going. I really enjoyed it."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Jeff Odom covers the Stars for DallasStars.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffodom.

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