For the first time this season the Texas Stars gave a goaltender consecutive starts, and Cristopher Nilstorp made the most of the opportunity. Nilstorp, who had been alternating starts with Jack Campbell, stopped all 21 shots he faced in helping lead the Stars to a 3-0 victory over the San Antonio Rampage at Cedar Park Center Thursday night.
“It’s feeling better and better,” said Nilstorp, who is in his first season in North America after coming over from the Swedish Elite League. “You get confidence and you get confidence in the group, too. And it’s good to win.”
It was the second straight win for Nilstorp, who has stopped 47 of 49 shots in the pair of victories.
“He’s getting better,” said Texas head coach Willie Desjardins. “He was good early and then started worrying about a couple of things and lost his game a little bit. He’s a good goaltender and he’ll play well. There may still be some adjustment (to the North American game), but he’s a good goaltender.”
The win was the second straight for the Stars and ran their points streak to three games (2-0-0-1). Matt Fraser scored two goals and Scott Glennie added the other tally for the Stars, who improved to 5-6-0-1 on the season.
“We finally got a win at home, which was nice,” said Desjardins. “They played really well. San Antonio was good tonight. We had to battle for it.”
Special teams were big for the Stars. The power play was 1-3 on the night and the penalty kill was a perfect 6-6. Both areas have been sore spots early in the season for the Stars, but have started to turn around the past three games.
“Special teams are always key, and we have been better,” said Desjardins.
There was no scoring in the first period. Nilstorp made a couple of saves early in the game and then had a great pad save on a Jon Rheault breakaway bid just past the midway point of the period to keep it a scoreless game.
The Stars opened the second period with 3:13 of Rampage power play time to kill, and as they were killing that penalty Cody Eakin took a high sticking minor leaving the Stars down two men for one minute. They were able to get through all that, went on their first power play of the night and cashed in to take a 1-0 lead.
Matt Fraser came out of the corner and beat San Antonio goaltender Jakob Markstrom with a shot from the right circle at the 5:53 mark.
The Stars then extended the lead with two goals in a span of 1:37 later in the period. Eakin centered a puck from behind the goal line to Fraser, who scored from the slot at the 13:49 mark to make it 2-0. Scott Glennie then tallied from the left circle at 15:26 of the second to give the Stars a 3-0 lead.
Nilstorp stopped eight shots in the third period and the Stars killed off two more San Antonio power plays to put the game away.
*Texas outshot San Antonio 31-21 in the game.
*Texas is 4-0-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the game this season.
*LW Matt Fraser has four goals in the last three games. After scoring no goals in his first six games of the season, Fraser has scored five goals over his last six games.
*Scott Glennie’s goal was his first of the season.
*Francis Wathier had two assists in the game and is now tied with Tomas Vincour for the team lead with six assists on the season.
*Texas is 15-16 (93.8%) on the penalty kill over their last three games.
*The Stars are 4-16 (25.0%) on the power play over their last three games.
Scratched: Campbell, A. Smith, Hedden, Vause