Modano worked his way to the net and scored on the rebound of linemate Brett Hull's shot 44 seconds into the second period to give the Stars the lead for good, and Dallas went on to a 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
"You expect a physical game every time you play them," said Modano, who has two goals in as many games. "It's either hit or be hit. You know it's coming."
The Blackhawks did a much better defensive job against the Stars under new coach Dirk Graham than they did last season, when Chicago was outscored 17-4 and went 0-4-1 in five meetings with Dallas.
"From the standpoint of energy and physical play, it had a lot of both especially for the second game of the season," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It felt like a playoff game. They (the Blackhawks) play with energy for 60 minutes. They're right in your face."
Goaltender Ed Belfour needed to make only 13 saves to help the Stars to their second victory in as many games.
Jeff Hackett stopped 29 shots for Chicago (1-1), which got its only goal from Chad Kilger in the first period.
Stars defenseman Richard Matvichuk scored an empty-net goal with one second left. Pat Verbeek had the other Dallas goal.
Chicago did a good job killing penalties, as Dallas was able to score only once in nine power-play opportunities. But by taking all the penalties six straight during one stretch in the first and second periods the Blackhawks were never able to get into any offensive rhythm.
"We've got to be careful with the penalties," Chicago center Doug Gilmour said. "You do anything wrong and they're going to call it. We've got to calm down and keep our flow going. It seemed like we were killing penalties all night."
The Blackhawks didn't get their first shot on goal until 7:49 left in the opening period, and they took a 1-0 lead 42 seconds later when Kilger beat Belfour from the slot.
Verbeek tied it with 1:43 left in the first period, notching his second power-play goal in as many games by converting Jamie Langenbrunner's pass from the side of the net.
Modano put the Stars in front 2-1 after 44 seconds had been played in the second period, nudging a rebound of Hull's shot past Hackett from just outside the crease.
Hull doesn't have a goal after his first two games in a Stars uniform, but he hasn't lacked for chances. Hull has 10 shots in the two games, and has picked up two assists.
"We've had good puck movement and some good opportunities," said Hull, who signed a three-year $17 million contract as a free agent. "Right now the puck isn't going inbut we're working hard and getting chances."
Dallas had an apparent second-period goal by Langenbrunner overturned on replay because Verbeek was in the crease.
The Blackhawks were again unable to get much going on offense in the second period, failing to get off a shot until 7:54 left in the period.
Chicago had a chance to tie the game late in the second period when the Blackhawks had 52 seconds of a two-man advantage, but Belfour stopped three good scoring chances during the two power plays to preserve Dallas' one-goal lead.
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