Stars beat Ducks in opener matching division champs

DALLAS (AP) — Antoine Roussel scored the tie-breaking goal for the Dallas Stars in a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night in a season opener matching the Western Conference's two defending division champions.

Roussel scored on a pass from Adam Cracknell only 83 seconds into the third period, 22 seconds after Andrew Cogliano's second goal for the Ducks had tied the game 2-all. Cracknell later added a goal.

Lauri Korpikoski and Stephen Johns also scored for the Stars, who last season had a Western Conference-high 109 points while winning the Central Division.

Randy Carlyle, who led the Ducks to their only Stanley Cup title in 2007, coached his first game in his return. He was re-hired to replace Bruce Boudreau nearly five years after being fired. Anaheim won the Pacific Division last season, but was ousted by Nashville in the first round of the playoffs.

The Stars went into this season sticking with their two-goalie system, and Antti Niemi got the starting nod in the opener over Kari Lehtonen. Before the Stars lost in the second round of the playoffs to the St. Louis Blues, each of the goaltending duo won 25 regular-season games.

Niemi stopped 33 shots, 16 in a strange first period.

Anaheim finished the first period with a 17-1 shots on goal advantage, and spent 8 minutes on the power play. But the game was tied 1-1 with Johns scoring on Dallas' only shot before Cogliano had a short-handed goal.

Cogliano had a breakaway after a turnover by Jason Spezza, and scored on the rebound after his initial shot ricocheted off Niemi.

Ducks goalie John Gibson had 16 saves.

NOTES: On the helmets of Stars players were decals representing the badges of five officers slain in downtown Dallas this summer. Family members of two of the officers participated in the pregame ceremonial puck drop. The arena is only a few blocks from where the officers were shot by a lone gunman on July 7. … Korpikoski just joined the Stars on Monday, when the eight-year NHL veteran signed a $1 million, one-year contract after being released from his professional tryout with the Calgary Flames. … The Stars started the season with forwards Ales Hemsky (groin), Cody Eakin (knee) and Mattias Janmark (knee) on injured reserve.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Continue their season-opening five-game road trip at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Stars: Play at Colorado on Saturday night.