Stars Hold on to Beat Rangers in Overtime

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 14: Miro Heiskanen #4 of the Dallas Stars scores in overtime against Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 14, 2021 in New York City. The Stars defeated the Rangers 3-2 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Miro Heiskanen netted the game-winning overtime goal with just over three minutes to go in the period. Heiskanen poked the puck away from New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin in his own defensive zone. Captain Jamie Benn tapped the puck up ice, and from there, it was off to the races.

“I just tried to skate hard, go high blocker, and it went in,” Heiskanen said during the post-game press conference.

Heiskanen beat Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba into the zone, and Heiskanen looked behind him before shooting. Trouba likely thought a pass was coming and didn’t expect Heiskanen to shoot the puck.

“It was good,” Heiskanen added.

With an overtime win, the Stars are hoping to shed the lackluster results of the 2020-21 season. They led the league in overtime losses with 14. If half of those had been wins, they would have made the playoffs.

A bad omen from the disastrous 2020-21 season did loom over this opening game. Jason Robertson did not play due to an injury, and John Klingberg left the game with a lower-body injury just before the second period ended. The craziness didn’t stop there, as starting goaltender Braden Holtby was replaced with 12 minutes remaining in the third.

Holtby took a stick up high, but Mike Heika reported he left the game due to dehydration. Anton Khudobin made all six saves he faced. Holtby looked great in his Stars debut. He made an incredible save on a one-time shot that Panarin fed to Ryan Strome alone in front of the net during the second period.

Rookie Jacob Peterson opened the scoring for the Stars, scored in his NHL debut. He snapped a shot past Igor Shesterkin with 34 seconds remaining in the first period. Coach Rick Bowness gave a glowing review of the Sweede in his first NHL game.

“He played tonight like he played all of training camp- very smart, very poised, and confident with the puck,” Bowness said in the post-game press conference.

The Stars took complete control of the game when Radek Faska scored a powerplay goal six minutes into the second period. The shot from the point was deflected, and Faska beat Sheshterkin to the puck, netting an easy goal.

A Rangers’ counterattack was headed by Klingberg leaving the game. Adam Fox scored two minutes after the Faska goal, pinballing the puck off of Esa Lindell. Holtby was screened, and the Rangers cut the lead in half.

Then, with less than five minutes remaining in the period, Chris Kreider tied the game with a tipped shot off the stick of K’Andre Miller.

In the third period, the Stars upped their game, killing off a crucial Joe Pavelski penalty, with under seven minutes to play in the third. Khudobin was barely tested after coming in for Holtby.

The Stars elevated their play when the game went into overtime. What they lacked last season in overtime was speed and endurance to finish the game. After poke-checking Panarin, Heiskanen knocked the monkey off of the Stars back.

“You want to get that off your should right away,” Pavelski said when asked about team mentality after the OT winner.

The Verdict

This was an extremely positive win for the Dallas Stars. The previous season saw them lose many games in overtime, deal with insurmountable injuries, and get no offensive production from the bottom six. In the first game of this season, the Stars fought through injuries, scored goals from lines three and four, and won the game in overtime. Game one was the perfect counterbalance to all the woes that made the Stars’ 2020-21 season unbearable.

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