NHL Game Summary - Phoenix at Dallas|
(Saturday, January 19th)
Final Score: Dallas 4, Phoenix 3
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Jaromir Jagr had a stellar debut with Dallas as
he scored twice and added two assists to help the Stars take a 4-3 win over
the Phoenix Coyotes in the opener on Saturday.
Signed as a free agent from Philadelphia in the offseason, the active points
leader in the NHL had a hand in all four goals, including the primary
assist on the game-winning goal by Loui Eriksson in the third period.
"Don't get too used to that guys," Jagr joked of his four-point performance.
"It was special. The first game is always special."
Ray Whitney, who played for Phoenix last season, also had a goal and an assist
for the Stars, who missed out on the playoffs for a fourth straight season
last year. Kari Lehtonen gave up three goals on 40 shots in the win.
Radim Vrbata posted two goals and an assist while Lauri Korpikoski also scored
for the Coyotes, who are coming off their best season since relocating to the
desert from Winnipeg after the 1995-96 season. Mike Smith gave up four goals
on 26 shots in the loss.
"It's a tough way to lose and uncharacteristic for our team," Phoenix coach
Dave Tippett said. "It's the first game coming out, you have to expect some
mistakes, but we certainly need to clean up those errors."
Phoenix won its first-ever division title last season as the team took the
Pacific Division. The club then went on to defeat Chicago in six games and
Nashville in five to make the conference finals for first time in club
history, but then fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings.
In the third period with the game tied, a turnover in the Phoenix end saw
Derek Roy send a shot on net from the left circle. Smith made the stop, but
the puck went to the right where Jagr fired a backhand pass to the slot and
Erikkson one-timed it home with 6:55 to play.
From there, Lehtonen made the stops as he finished the third period with 15
saves for the win.
The only goal of the first period went to Dallas as Jagr was sprung on a shot
break by Eriksson and flung the puck past Smith with 1:24 to play in the
Phoenix tied the game on the power play just over nine minutes into the second
period. Matthew Lombardi sent a pass from the left boards to the low right
side where Vrbata was all alone for the easy tap back to the slot and
Korpikoski put it home.
The Coyotes then took a 2-1 lead with another power-play goal as Vrbata's
wrister from the right circle made its way through a screen at the 11:53
Dallas, though, tied the game on the power play with 1:22 to play in the
middle stanza. A shot by Stephane Robidas at the left point was blocked by a
Star in front, but Jagr was there to shoot it home for his second of the
That goal was no. 667 of Jagr's illustrious career and he is now just one away
from tying Luc Robitaille for 10th place all-time in the NHL.
Dallas then went ahead on the power play just 31 seconds into the third period
on Whitney's first with the team, but Vrbata tied it just three minutes later
with his second of the night.
Jagr is 10 assists away from becoming the 12th player in NHL history to reach
1,000 ... Dallas plays at Minnesota on Sunday ... Phoenix returns home to face
Chicago on Sunday ... Each team won three times in the season series last year
... Dallas was 2-for-4 on the power play while Phoenix was 2-for-5.
01/20 01:12:24 ET