The only twist: Stefan no longer plays for the Thrashers.
Stefan, traded to Dallas last summer, made the most of his return to Atlanta, getting his first goal and two assists of the season in the Stars' 5-3 win.
Mike Ribeiro scored two goals in the opening period for Dallas, which built a big lead and withstood the Thrashers' short-lived comeback attempt in the third period.
Stefan had no points while appearing in only six games for the Stars before Friday night, but he was in top form for his big homecoming.
"I spent six years here that were very special, so I'm sure I had a little extra tonight," Stefan said. "But as soon as the puck drops it doesn't matter where you play."
Atlanta was left with its first three-game losing streak of the season and concerns about Marian Hossa, who needed help leaving the ice after crashing into the boards late in the game.
Hossa looked groggy as he sat slumped on the bench, but insisted he'll be ready for Saturday's game at Montreal.
"I'm going to be fine," Hossa said.
Marty Turco stopped 20 shots to help Dallas win for the ninth time in 10 games against Atlanta. The Stars have won each of their last five visits to Atlanta, but this win over the first-place Thrashers was the most impressive.
"They have a lot of skills," Ribeiro said of the Thrashers. "They stay out of the box. They can beat anyone."
The Thrashers drew only three minor penalties, including one by Ilya Kovalchuk in the third period that set up the only power-play goal of the game -- a critical goal by Mike Modano after the Thrashers had pulled to 4-3.
Turco gave up a goal to Steve Rucchin only 42 seconds into the game.
"I looked up and it was in the back of the net," Stars coach Dave Tippett said.
Dallas answered Rucchin's early goal quickly. Matthew Barnaby scored on a slap shot only 2:15 into the game and the Stars took the lead with the two goals by Ribeiro, each on assists from Stefan.
"I pulled Kari basically to turn the game around," Hartley said.
Stefan's first goal of the season about 12 minutes into the second period pushed the lead to 4-1.
"Stefan was the spark we needed tonight," Tippett said.
"It's a special feeling when you come back to your former team. I'm sure he wanted to come back and play well, and that's what he did."
Atlanta tried to rally on goals by Glen Metropolit and Hossa.
Hossa's league-leading 16th goal with 6:48 left in the third period got the Thrashers within one. The comeback ended with Modano's power-play goal a minute later.
Turco moved to 5-0 in his career against the Thrashers.
|Patrick Stefan's second-period goal has him giving out a pat on the head to Matthew Barnaby. (AP)|
|Dallas (13-5-0) «||3||1||1||5|
|00:42||Steve Rucchin (4), Wrist Shot - Assists: Ilya Kovalchuk, Scott Mellanby|
|02:15||Matthew Barnaby, Slap Shot - Assist: Sergei Zubov|
|05:59||Mike Ribeiro (4), Slap Shot - Assists: Patrik Stefan, Trevor Daley|
|16:46||Mike Ribeiro (5), Slap Shot - Assists: Patrik Stefan, Stephane Robidas|
|12:03||Patrik Stefan, Snap Shot - Assists: Matthew Barnaby, Jeff Halpern|
|09:31||Glen Metropolit (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Jon Sim, Niko Kapanen|
|13:12||Marian Hossa (16), Snap Shot - Unassisted.|
|14:25||Power Play - Mike Modano (9), Slap Shot - Assists: Sergei Zubov, Philippe Boucher|
|13:52||Havelid: Interference - 2 min.|
|13:58||Morrow: Holding - 2 min.|
|18:09||Daley: Holding - 2 min.|
|01:08||Vishnevski: Hooking - 2 min.|
|09:45||Modry: Interference - 2 min.|
|12:32||Barnaby: Tripping - 2 min.|
|14:57||Daley: Gross Misconduct - 10 min.|
|14:57||Daley: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.|
|13:41||Kovalchuk: Interference - 2 min.|
|SHOTS ON GOAL|
|Attendance - 18545|
|Game Time - 60:00|
|Referees - Stephane Auger, Mick McGeough|
|Line Judges - Mark Pare, Tony Sericolo|