Dallas, TX – 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 frame.
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 mark.
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 night.
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.