Captain Brenden Morrow has goal and assist to lead Stars over Devils 3-1

Morrow had a goal and an assist for his first points of the season to help the Dallas Stars beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 in their home opener Saturday night.

Morrow, selected team captain last week, was reluctant to talk about his individual game afterward. The 27-year-old left winger preferred to discuss team goals and accomplishments.

“We are continuing to build character,” said Morrow, who signed a US$24.6 million, six-year extension last month. “We want to be a gritty team that’s tough to play against, and we feel like we did that tonight.”

Morrow’s goal gave Dallas a 2-0 lead early in the second. He also assisted on Eric Lindros’ score that gave the Stars a two-goal cushion with 2:48 remaining in the game.

Lindros, who has endured several concussions during his career, signed a one-year deal with the Stars in the off-season after playing in only 72 games the past two seasons.

“It wasn’t the greatest game I ever played, but we’ll take the two points,” Lindros said.

Niklas Hagman scored a short-handed goal for Dallas in the first to open the scoring.

Centre Travis Zajac scored his first-career goal on a power play at 8:33 of the second to pull New Jersey within 2-1 in the rematch of the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals.

“It’s a relief getting that first one,” Zajac said. “But it stings a little bit because it came under not so great circumstances. I’d rather take a win over a goal any day.”

Dallas goalie Marty Turco had 19 saves to win his second straight to start the season.

New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, who tied Terry Sawchuk on the all-time wins list Friday night, had 28 saves.

“Any time you can beat Brodeur it’s not a bad thing,” Dallas coach Dave Tippett said.

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Jeff Halpern was whistled for a holding penalty at the 11:07 mark of the first period. But Dallas overcame the penalty 41 seconds later when Stu Barnes hit Hagman, who beat Brodeur in the slot.

The Stars extended their lead to 2-0 in the second. Mike Ribeiro was behind the net where he passed the puck to a wide-open Morrow at 4:44 of the second.

Zajac brought the Devils within a goal, but they could not complete the rally one night after beating defending Stanley Cup champions Carolina 4-0 on Friday night.

New Jersey was 1-of-9 on power plays and was outshot 31-20 – including 25-11 over the first two periods.

“It seemed like we were a second behind every play,” New Jersey centre Erik Rasmussen said. “We were a second behind in reacting. It just seemed like we were a little flat all game.”

Dallas continued to struggle on the power play, going 0-for-5 – including a missed chance when they had a 5-on-3 advantage for 58 seconds late in the first. They have not scored in nine power-play chances this season.

Notes: Dallas will not play at home again until Oct. 20 against Chicago. The Stars open a four-game road trip with consecutive games next week against the Los Angeles Kings. … New Jersey C John Madden needs one point for 200 in his career. … The Stars improved to 7-0-1 in their last eight home openers. They are now 10-2-1 in home openers since moving from Minnesota in 1993. … The Devils will have four days off before their home opener Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. … Dallas improved to 2-4-0 against New Jersey since the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals.