Stars Open Homestand with 4-1 Victory Over Nashville

Saturday, 12.28.2013 / 12:24 AM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Open Homestand with 4-1 Victory Over Nashville

The Dallas Stars opened a five-game homestand on the right track, knocking off the Nashville Predators, 4-1, Friday night at American Airlines Center.

The Stars ran their points streak to five games (4-0-1), improved to 19-12-6 and pulled to within two points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Stars, who began a stretch of 13 of 18 games at the AAC, have won three straight at home and are 5-1-2 in their last eight.

“We’ll take that after the [holiday] break. It was a good win for our team,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “These [games] are very important. We’ve done a pretty good job on the road, and now we’ve got to take care of this schedule with a lot of home games coming up.”

Erik Cole scored two goals and Jamie Benn and Ryan Garbutt also scored. Alex Goligoski recorded two assists and Kari Lehtonen stopped 33 of 34 shots for the Stars, who have allowed two goals or fewer in five straight games despite having several injuries on defense.

“We’re playing smart right now,” said Goligoski. “We’re not turning pucks over, we’re not giving up odd-man rushes. Through the injuries, and guys being out and stuff, guys have stepped up. … There’s only one way for us to play to be successful, and guys have kind of figured that out.”

The Predators dropped their fifth straight game (0-4-1) and fell to 16-18-4 on the season.

“Well, obviously we’re down 1-0 in the opening minute of the game and we’re sort of chasing the whole game and I thought we sort of battled back,” said Nashville coach Barry Trotz.

The Stars scored 42 seconds into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Jamie Benn skated down the left wing, circled behind the Nashville net and then scored on a wrap-around.

“It was definitely a tough way to start,” said Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton.

Lehtonen came up with a slick glove save on a close range backhand bid by Matt Hendricks at 2:19 of the first to keep it a 1-0 game. Nashville had the only power play of the period, but couldn’t take advantage.

The Stars had a chance to extend the lead when Antoine Roussel was awarded a penalty shot after getting pulled down on a breakaway with 3:25 left in the first period. But Roussel’s backhand bid on the penalty shot went wide and the Stars had a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.

The Stars had some good chances early in the second, including a Valeri Nichushkin redirection that Hutton stopped and a Nichushkin shot that hit the post. The Stars had a three-on-one rush, but couldn’t generate a quality chance.

The Predators tied the game at the 7:14 mark when Colin Wilson set up defenseman Kevin Klein, who pinched in from the point and scored into the open side of the net.

But the Stars answered just 24 seconds later when Rich Peverley backhanded the puck to Cole, who beat a screened Hutton from the right circle at 7:38 of the second.

“We had some great scoring chances just prior to them scoring their goal,” said Cole. “I felt we were creating opportunities, we just weren’t finishing. Them scoring and tying the game was a bit of a wakeup call, everybody upped their intensity a bit.”

“That was a huge goal,” said Goligoski. “And then we got another one, so it was big.”

Cole struck again with 5:56 left in the second, taking a pass from Goligoski, streaking down the right side, freezing Hutton with a fake and then backhanding the puck into the net at the post to put the Stars up 3-1.

“It was a great pass from Goose,” said Cole. “I had a great lane to the net. I tried to make him think I was going to pull it all the way across with how much speed I had built up, and then I hit the brakes and waited. There wasn’t as much room as I thought there would be, but it was fortunate that it went in.”

The Stars killed off a Nashville power play that started late in the second and carried over into the third to maintain their two-goal lead.

The Stars went on their second power play of the game early in the third, didn’t cash in but scored a short time later to make it a 4-1 game. Jordie Benn put a shot on net that Cody Eakin tipped onto the stick of Garbutt, who redirected it into the net at 4:09 of the third. That rounded out the scoring in the game.

The Stars continue their homestand Sunday, when they host the St. Louis Blues.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 51 25 19 7 113 121 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82
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