ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Zach Parise is too young to have seen his father's on-ice exploits for the Dallas Stars' previous incarnation, the Minnesota North Stars. But on Sunday, Parise's first goal in a Wild uniform made the difference as Minnesota's current NHL team improved to 2-0 for the season, shutting out the Stars 1-0.
Dallas got 31 saves from rookie goalie Cristopher Nilstorp in his NHL debut, but could not muster any offense in the Stars' first road game of the season, falling to 1-1 overall. Dallas players said this kind of game may be indicative of what's to come, with the teams playing on back-to-back nights and the compressed 48-game schedule.
"It's always tough, especially in this season," said Stars wing Jaromir Jagr. "But we knew it was going to be like that with the short season and a short time to make up a lot of games. It's the same for everybody."
Parise, the NHL's most talked-about free agent last summer, blasted a rising slap shot from the high slot that sailed through traffic and into the upper right corner of the net in the first period. It was an even-strength goal, although a 4-on-3 Wild power play had just expired. For the Wild, a close, defensive win was encouraging, as they try to prove they can still succeed with defense.
"Good teams find a way to win," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Sometimes you've got to win one-nothing and sometimes you've got to score four goals. Every night is different, every night is unique. But the guys did what they had to do tonight for sure."
The rest of the night belonged to Minnesota goalie Josh Harding, who had 24 saves for his seventh career shutout. Harding, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during the lockout, was making his first start of the season. He stopped Dallas wing Ray Whitney on a short-handed break with 1:10 left in the game to preserve the win.
"He played a huge game for us and made that save with about a minute left when we were caught napping," said Parise, whose father J.P. spent eight of his 14 NHL seasons with the North Stars, and retired in Minnesota. "We did a good job of bailing each other out."
Dallas opened the season with a 4-3 home victory over Phoenix on Saturday, but struggled offensively on Sunday. Part of that was due to line juggling necessitated in the first period when Stars captain Brenden Morrow took a puck to the face and had to leave the game for a time. He returned in the second period.
"We seemed a little lethargic to start the game. I think both teams were," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "If you want to win on the road, you've got to be prepared and sometimes you can get the game in the first 10 minutes, like they did."
The Wild were last in the NHL in shots on goal per game last season, but generated 30-plus shots for the second consecutive night. They close out their season-opening three-game homestand on Tuesday versus Nashville.
Dallas visits the Red Wings on Tuesday.
NOTES: Zenon Konopka suffered a significant facial laceration and a broken nose on Saturday in his debut with the Wild after taking a high stick to the face from Colorado's Jan Hejda. Konopka played on Sunday despite receiving 30 stitches. His nose has been broken more than a dozen times in his eight-year NHL career. ... Still no sign of left wing Jamie Benn in uniform for the Stars. A restricted free agent, Benn is holding out and has been unable to reach an agreement with Dallas since the end of the lockout two weeks ago. Benn was the Stars' second-leading scorer with 63 points in 71 games last season. ... The Wild's AHL affiliate has played in Texas for more than a decade, but the Houston Aeros could relocate at the end of this season when their lease at the Toyota Center expires. There is speculation that with hockey-ready arenas in Des Moines and Kansas City, it may make financial sense for the Wild's farm team to set up shop closer to Minnesota. ... Six members of the current Stars roster -- Loui Eriksson, Jaromir Jagr, Philip Larsen, Eric Nystrom, Stephane Robidas and Tom Wandell -- spent time playing in Europe during the lockout. Benn was also overseas, playing 19 games in Germany.