The Anaheim Ducks roared to a big early lead before blowing three-quarters of it. They skated circles around the Dallas Stars early, only to hold on by their fingernails late.
The Ducks know a Stanley Cup run can't possibly be easy, and they're not afraid of a little hard work along the way.
Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves to win his NHL playoff debut, and the Ducks persevered for a 4-3 victory over the Stars on Wednesday night.
Getzlaf, Kyle Palmieri and Mathieu Perreault scored in a dominant first period for the top-seeded Ducks, who began their playoff run on a dead sprint. Anaheim led 4-0 midway through the second period before the Stars nearly got all the way back into it, but the Ducks emerged grateful for the test.
"A little adversity isn't going to hurt us," Corey Perry said. "We've got to learn how to play with the lead, especially down to the wire. All those things are going to help us." Game 2 is Friday.
Captain Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour had power-play goals in Dallas' first playoff game since 2008, and Tyler Seguin scored with 6:07 left to trim the Ducks' lead to one. Anaheim hung on with a handful of big saves from Andersen, a 24-year-old Danish rookie.
The Columbus Blue Jackets don't feel they're doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"It's not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it," goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday's optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.
The Blue Jackets had 11 skaters appear in their very first playoff game. Yet they played like wily veterans, building a 3-1 lead early in the second period. The Penguins came back with two power-play goals in the span of 45 seconds to tie it before Brandon Sutter's game-winner midway through the third period.
The St. Louis Blues have ruled out forward T.J. Oshie for Thursday's playoff opener against the Chicago Blackhawks, but Vladimir Tarasenko returned after missing 15 games with a broken thumb. The game ended too late for this edition.
Coach Ken Hitchcock also says forward Patrik Berglund will not play in Game 1 on Thursday night. He had no update on Oshie, who missed practice Wednesday.
Tarasenko is returning about two weeks ahead of schedule.
The Blues got several other players back from injuries. Forwards David Backes, Vladimir Sobotka and Brenden Morrow and defensemen Barret Jackman and Alex Pietrangelo all missed the regular season finale.