Jiri Hudler made an impact in the Dallas Stars preseason opener, scoring one goal and assisting on another as the Stars defeated St. Louis, 3-1, Monday night at American Airlines Center.
"It was great," Hudler said. "I couldn't wait to play a game, and it was a nice thing to win."
Hudler, signed as a free agent this summer, made a nice pass to set up one goal and then scored a power-play goal off a tip-in.
"It's what we expected," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's a guy that can be creative and he skated well."
Patrik Nemeth and Patrick Eaves also scored goals for the Stars, and Patrick Sharp picked up two assists. Kari Lehtonen played the first half of the game in goal and stopped nine of 10 shots. Maxime Lagace played the second half and stopped all 14 shots he faced. It was the first NHL preseason game for Lagace.
"I was super nervous," Lagace said. "My legs were like spaghettis in there, but after five minutes it went away, and I felt good."
The Stars outshot the St. Louis 31-24 and held the Blues to just 13 shots on goal through the first two periods.
"I thought we skated well, played our game well. The transition game was good," Ruff said. "I thought we left a lot of plays out there and had some misfortune on some of the opportunities, but I really liked the way we played."
The Stars had a 12-5 shots advantage in the first and scored late in the period to take a 1-0 lead. Nemeth pinched in from the blue line, took a feed from Hudler and scored from the slot at the 18:35 mark.
"It was a really good pass by Jiri from behind the net," Nemeth said. "I am glad I took the opportunity to score."
The Stars had a lengthy five-on-three power play to start the second period and couldn't take advantage. The Blues went on a power play later in the period, and Kevin Shattenkirk beat a screened Lehtonen from the left point at 5:34 of the second to tie the game 1-1.
Lehtonen came up with a big save a little more than a minute later, stopping Kenny Agostino on a shorthanded breakaway to keep it a 1-1 game.
The Stars took a 2-1 lead with 1:03 left in the second by cashing in on their sixth power play of the game. Jason Spezza put a puck on the net from the right wing, and Hudler tipped it past Blues goaltender Carter Hutton.
"It wasn't a set play, but I kind of knew he was going to put it on net," Hudler said.
The Stars made it a 3-1 game late in the third when Mattias Janmark set up Eaves on a two-on-one rush and Eaves tallied from the right circle.
*The Stars outshot the Blues 31-24. Both teams had 51 attempted shots.
*Brett Ritchie and Jason Spezza led the Stars with six attempted shots each. Denis Gurianov was next with five.
*The Stars were 1-6 on the power play and 3-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 37 of 64 faceoffs (58 percent).
*Gemel Smith won 9 of 14 faceoffs (64 percent). Justin Dowling won 11 of 18 (61 percent). Jason Spezza won 10 of 18 (56 percent). Mattias Janmark won 7 of 14 (50 percent).
*Jamie Oleksiak led Dallas with five hits.
*John Klingberg led the Stars with 21:43 of ice time.
*The Stars have an off day on Tuesday. The Stars practice Wednesday morning in Frisco and play a preseason game Wednesday night at Colorado.
Jiri Hudler - Jason Spezza - Patrick Sharp
Remi Elie - Mattias Janmark - Patrick Eaves
Cole Ully - Gemel Smith - Denis Gurianov
Brendan Ranford - Justin Dowling - Brett Ritchie
Mattias Backman - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth - Julius Honka