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Stars edge Capitals, 2-1

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars gave new coach Lindy Ruff his first win, beating the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

"I thought there was a lot to like, except for some really good opportunities that we missed," Ruff said. "But work ethic wise, it was tremendous."

Rookie Alex Chiasson scored the eventual winner in the second period.

"He finds the right place," Ruff said of Chiasson. "He needs a little of that magic to rub off on the other guys."

Chiasson delivered his second goal in as many games off a rebound at 12:07 of the second. The Stars rookie winger tapped in the carom after Washington goaltender Braden Holtby stopped an initial shot from Dallas center Cody Eakin, who began his NHL career with the Capitals.

"I felt defensively like I played pretty good tonight," Chiasson said. "It all starts there and good things happen usually. The less time you spend in your zone, the more time you've got to make plays. I thought tonight our line played well. We won a lot of battles down low and we were skating well."

Holtby, who stopped 19 of the 21 shots he faced in his first start after being pulled in the first period of a game with the Calgary Flames on Thursday, said he could have done better on the eventual game-winner but gave Chiasson credit for the goal.

"I don't know what happened to get the breakdown really. I just know (Eakin) set it up with a nice little give-and-go and the shot hit a perfect place on the pad. He (Chiasson) puts the rebound in. The guy did a nice job. I thought I got it high enough in the air that it'd give me enough time to get it over, but he got it right before he hit the ground," Holtby said. "It was one of those plays. It was a good goal. You've got to give him credit for that."

However, Capitals coach Adam Oates had no issue with Holtby's showing in the loss.

"He looked very solid and calm," Oates said. "The chances were pretty even in the game. There wasn't a lot from both ends."

The Capitals took the lead 4:26 into the game when Alex Ovechkin scored off a one-timer with Washington on the power play. Ovechkin connected from the left faceoff circle after a nice pass from Mike Green to make it 1-0.

"I thought we did a nice job on their power play," Ruff said. "Ovechkin just did what he does. He took a shot from a tough angle and he found a hole."

Washington had gone on the power play at 3:25 when Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas was whistled for tripping the Capitals' Brooks Laich near the Stars' net.

However, Dallas answered about 3 1/2 minutes later when Erik Cole slipped a 19-foot snap from the slot past Holtby at 8:01 to tie the score. Tyler Seguin picked up the primary assist with a nice backhand pass from behind the goal. It was his first assist for Dallas after coming over in a July trade with Boston.

Washington looked like it had regained the lead at 8:01 of the second period when Nicklas Backstrom scored off a tap-in on a shot by John Carlson. However, the officials determined that Backstrom interfered with Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen and the goal was nullified.

"I think it should have been a goal based on the replay," Oates said. "But the referees, they're trying to do the best they can. I thought once the puck goes in there, you're allowed to go after it. And I didn't think (Backstrom) interfered with him. I think he touched the puck first and then the goalie. Obviously the goalie embellished it a little."

Dallas kept the Capitals' power play off the ice, limiting Washington to three opportunities. The Capitals had been 5-for-9 on the power play in their first two games.

The Capitals had their share of chances on the night, finishing with 26 shots, four of which hit posts or crossbars.

"We had lots of chances, lots of crossbars and posts. We know we have to play better in our zone," Washington winger Alex Ovechkin said. "We had lots of turnovers and we spent too much time in our zone I think."

Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced in the win, including robbing Washington's Mikhail Grabovski at the final horn to preserve his first win of the season.

Dallas had lost 4-2 to the Florida Panthers on Thursday, allowing three unanswered after leading 2-1 early in the third period. However, Ruff was pleased with his club's performance on Saturday.

"We had guys who just showed up nervous for Game 1," Ruff said. "Tonight we were able to battle down low. Guys hunkered down."

NOTES: With D Jack Hillen having surgery on Friday for a leg injury and out for the next four to six months, Washington coach Adam Oates went with Steve Oleksy in Hillen's spot alongside Connor Carrick in the Capitals' third defensive pairing. ... Dallas C Rich Peverley, acquired in a summer trade with Boston, made his Stars debut by centering Dallas' fourth line. Peverley had missed all of preseason and the Stars' opener on Thursday with an irregular heartbeat. ... Capitals D John Erskine was the 39th overall pick by Dallas in the 1998 NHL Draft and played 107 games for the Stars between 2001 and 2006, the same year he signed a free agent deal with Washington.
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