UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Losing a future Hall of Fame player hasn’t prevented the Dallas Stars from surging to their best start in four years.
Mike Ribeiro beat goalie Rick DiPietro with a strong backhand-to-forehand move in the final round of a shootout to lift the Stars to a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Despite losing Mike Modano to the Detroit Red Wings in free agency, the Stars utilized a total team effort as eight players recorded points to send Dallas to its first 2-0 start since 2006.
“It’s huge to come out of the two games and get four points,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said. “They’re not all going to be masterpieces. We’ll get a chance to review this and look where we can be better.”
Brenden Morrow scored twice, and Jamie Benn and Stephane Robidas added goals. Dallas is undefeated this season with back-to-back road wins after regulation. The Stars won 4-3 in overtime at New Jersey on Friday night.
Brad Richards and Ribeiro added two assists, and Kari Lehtonen posted 43 saves for the victory. Lehtonen stopped Frans Nielsen, P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson in the shootout.
“It’s good to start both games and see where we are,” Lehtonen said. “It helps that I’m a bigger guy and we practice those (shootouts) a lot. I feel comfortable there when the guys are coming. I don’t think there’s a secret.”
James Wisniewski, Doug Weight, Blake Comeau and Moulson scored in regulation for the Islanders.
Moulson’s rebound goal with 2:39 remaining in regulation tied the game at four. Lehtonen had made four saves on the power play before Moulson gained control and finished the flurry.
New York registered a 47-22 shot advantage, including a 23-5 edge in the final period.
“We put an emphasis on getting a lot of shots on net,” Moulson said. “We’re doing a good job of getting it through.”
Weight, who had three points, scored during a 5-on-3 power play in the second period. New York scored three times with the man advantage, but are winless in season openers since 2007 and 1-5-2 since 2002.
Weight celebrated his first goal since Feb. 13. The 18-year NHL veteran scored only one goal in 36 games last season before undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff.
“When you get 45-50 shots on goal, you’re doing some good things,” the 39-year-old Weight said. “I came into camp looking for some good things. Tonight’s point was crucial.”
Richards registered his second multipoint game in two nights. He has a goal and three assists for the Stars.
Robidas created the Islanders’ tying power-play opportunity when his clearing attempt went out of play for a delay-of-game penalty with 3:43 left. Robidas committed a similar penalty 32 seconds after Moulson’s goal, but the Stars killed it off to force overtime.
“I just stopped moving my feet. It’s my mistake and I put them back in the game,” Robidas said. “The guys battled hard, and we still end up with two points, but there’s no excuse for that.”
Morrow deflected Ribeiro’s feed to the right of the slot above DiPietro for a 4-2 Dallas lead at 7:12 of the third, but New York rallied.
Comeau scored from the point at 8:45 and Moulson followed with the equalizer.
John Tavares left the ice with 3:17 left in the opening period after colliding with Dallas’ Adam Burish at centre ice. Tavares, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, skated to the dressing room under his own power but didn’t return.
Tavares has a mild concussion and will be evaluated Monday, according to Islanders officials. New York already is playing without defenceman Mark Streit and forward Kyle Okposo due to shoulder injuries.
“The injury bug just continues against us,” DiPietro said.
Benn and Robidas scored 2:07 apart in the first period for the Stars, who beat the Islanders for the fourth straight time, dating to 2006.
“We’re not relying on one person. We want to do it as a team,” Robidas said. “We don’t have big names but we just try to get it simple and play hard and try to outwork the other team.”
DiPietro allowed two goals on his first five shots in his first opening day start since 2007. He finished with 18 saves.
“It was a big point for us,” DiPietro said. “It was a fantastic performance by the team. We didn’t quit.”
Nino Niederreiter logged 11:27 and two shots in his NHL debut. The fifth overall draft pick became the youngest Islanders player in franchise history at 18 years, 31 days.
NOTES: Dallas won its first two road games for the first time since 2006. … Dallas C Toby Petersen played in his 300th NHL game. … Niederreiter became the third straight Islanders top draft choice to make his NHL debut in the season-opener, following C Josh Bailey (2008) and Tavares last season. New York Jets coach Rex Ryan dropped the ceremonial first puck.