DETROIT (97.1 THE TICKET/AP) – Michael Ryder scored in the first and third periods, and Kari Lehtonen came within 3.4 seconds of a shutout in the Dallas Stars’ 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
Lehtonen made 39 saves, but allowed Damien Brunner’s first career goal in the final seconds. Ryder had already added an insurance goal with 14:26 to play.
Detroit’s Jimmy Howard had 30 saves – including 16 in the second period – to keep his team in it.
Jaromir Jagr went without a point for Dallas for a second straight game after posting two goals and two assists in the season opener Saturday.
“(It’s) one of those games I would have liked to see us gut it out in the third period,” said head coach Mike Babcock. “No excuses … I thought we looked like we were out of gas, not as good as we want to be.”
Babcock described the Wings as “a team in flux – everyone knows – we’ll be just fine.”
Detroit’s fans were ready for the Red Wings’ first home game after the lockout.
It was the 72nd consecutive sellout for an NHL game at Joe Louis Arena, and the crowd roared when Tomas Holmstrom came out to drop the ceremonial first puck. Holmstrom announced his retirement earlier Tuesday after 15 seasons with the Red Wings.
Ryder opened the scoring with 14:19 left in the first, beating Howard from the top of the right circle with a terrific shot that sailed past the goalie’s right shoulder.
The Red Wings killed off 3:55 of power-play time after Brunner and Kyle Quincey took back-to-back minor penalties in the second. While short-handed, Detroit’s Valtteri Filppula beat Lehtonen to the goalie’s right, but the shot hit the post and stayed out.
Howard was terrific in the second, stopping Brian Lashoff’s stuff attempt and later denying Trevor Daley when he had a chance from in close.
Detroit nearly tied it in the first minute of the third, but Lehtonen stopped Henrik Zetterberg at the doorstep, then slid to his left to prevent Brunner from knocking in the rebound.
Dallas added its second goal when Ray Whitney had his shot blocked, but he retrieved the loose puck and sent a nice cross-ice pass to Ryder, whose quick wrist shot went past Howard.
Howard’s best save might have been a few minutes later when Reilly Smith stickhandled past a Detroit player and lifted a backhander from point-blank range that Howard gloved.
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