The Dallas Stars got a stellar performance from goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp in his NHL debut, but they couldn’t get a puck past Minnesota netminder Josh Harding and fell, 1-0, to the Wild at Excel Energy Center Sunday night. Zach Parise scored the lone goal for the Wild, tallying with the teams playing four-on-four at 8:11 of the first period.
The Stars are 1-1-0 on the season, while Minnesota is 2-0-0.
Cristopher Nilstorp was outstanding in his NHL debut, stopping 31 of 32 shots. The 28-year-old Swede had several big saves to keep the Stars close in the game.
Nilstorp, who stopped 10 of 11 shots in the first period, made his first big save on a close range shot by Dany Heatley with the Wild on a four-on-three power play and Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas playing without a stick. The only goal against came on a Zach Parise blast from the slot just after that four-on-three power play expired, giving the Wild a 1-0 lead at 8:11 of the first period. The Stars still just had three defenders in front of Nilstorp at the time and one them (Eric Nystrom) had broken his stick.
He stopped all 10 shots he faced in the second, including a sequence of three stops in 15 seconds about seven minutes into the period.
Nilstorp stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period, including a sharp pad save on a redirection by Cal Clutterbuck off the rush.
Harding’s big save
The Stars had a great chance to tie late when Loui Eriksson set up Ray Whitney on a shorthanded bid, but Wild goalie Josh Harding stopped Whitney’s wrist shot from the left faceoff circle with 1:11 remaining in the game.
The Stars were not happy with the shots against in game one Saturday as the Coyotes had a 40-26 advantage. On Sunday the Wild outshot the Stars 32-24. Do the math and that’s a 72-50 shots advantage for the Stars’ opponents through the first two games.
Special teams watch
There were no special teams goals in the game, but Minnesota’s lone goal was basically a power play tally. Zach Parise scored just as a Wild four-on-three power play was expiring in the first period.
The Stars were officially 3-3 on the penalty kill. They are now 6-8 (75.0%) on the season.
The Stars were 0-4 on the power play. They are 2-8 (25.0%) on the season.
Opening weekend was the first of nine sets of back-to-back games the Stars played this season. The second games of back-to-backs were a sore spot last season. The Stars were 1-11-2 second games, and were outscored 50-24, excluding goals awarded for shootout wins.
Roy dominates again at the faceoff dot
Stars center Derek Roy was superb in the faceoff circle again Sunday night, winning 17 of 25 (68%) of his faceoffs. Roy has won 33 of 48 (68.8%) of his draws over the first two games. As a team, the Stars won 24 of 50 (48%) of faceoffs in Sunday’s games.
Beware of the puck
Stars forward Reilly Smith played in the game despite taking a puck in the mouth Saturday, having some dental work done after the game and then having to fly to Minnesota on Sunday. Brenden Morrow left the game late in the second after taking a puck to the face, but returned for the start of the third period.
The Stars play at Detroit on Tuesday. The Red Wings, who lost 6-0 at St. Louis on Saturday, play at Columbus on Monday.
Injured: Rome (groin)