Stars 4, Predators 2
Down by a goal early in the third period, the Stars felt right at home in Bridgestone Arena.
scored a rare goal to snap a third-period tie, and Krystofer Barch
followed by registering an even more infrequent tally to help rally the Stars to another comeback win, 4-2, over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
had a goal and assist, and Steve Ott
also scored for Dallas (22-11-4), which took a three-point lead over idle Los Angeles for first place in the Pacific Division. The Kings do, however, have a pair of games in hand.
It was the 12th time this season the Stars were able to muster points after being down at some juncture in the game, and seventh time they earned at least a point while being behind in the third period.
It was also Fistric's first goal in 82 games, while Barch scored for the first time in 96 contests.
"In the course of a season it evens out," defenseman Stephane Robidas
said. "Some nights you don't really deserve to win and you end up winning the game, and sometimes you deserve to win and you don't get the two points. We got fortunate tonight. They played hard, and we didn't come out strong."
The Stars wouldn't have been in position to snap a two-game winless streak -- and win for the 12th time in their last 18 games -- without the terrific goaltending of Andrew Raycroft
. He won his seventh game in 10 starts by turning aside all but one of the Predators' first 34 shots on goal over the initial 40 minutes.
"It's always a tough building to play in because they play a hard and disciplined game," Raycroft said. "They put a lot of pressure on you. You just have to try and manage."
He did more than just manage. Raycroft saved the day by finishing with 44 saves, as the Stars were outshot by a whopping 46-25 margin in the contest.
"He's been phenomenal," Ott said. "He's been kicking everything out. He's had point-blank shots, he's had one-timers, he's had screen shots…he's finding a way to see the puck. For us to have two goalies like this, it just keeps giving us confidence."
Colin Wilson scored twice, and Pekka Rinne finished with 21 saves for Nashville (17-13-6), which has lost five straight after stringing together five consecutive victories.
"To be honest, a win's a win, but our goalie played unbelievable," Robidas said. "Without him tonight we didn't have a chance."
Wilson gave the Predators a 2-1 lead just 32 seconds into the third, converting on a breakaway attempt for his second of the game and ninth of the season.
But Eriksson tied it up at 2-2 just 72 seconds later. Off the rush, Jamie Benn
slipped the puck to Eriksson in the inner edge of the right circle, and Eriksson lifted the puck past Rinne's stick to tie Brad Richards
for the team lead with his 16th of the season.
Fistric potted his first of the season from the left point at 8:18 of the third, sending a wrist shot that found its way to the back of the net with Ott providing some interference in front of Rinne.
Barch then pushed the lead to 4-2 with his first of the year just under two minutes later. After Rinne stopped Brian Sutherby
's shot from the top of the right circle, Barch drove hard to the net to collect the rebound and put it home.
"For our team, it wasn't the best game, but we stayed with it long enough and in it long enough to get ourselves going," coach Marc Crawford said. "The third period was our best. We started to get a little bit more puck control. When we found the seams, we took advantage of the chances that we got. Anytime you get two unlikely guys to score for you, you should win."
After no goals in the first period, Ott finally broke through for his eighth of the season to give Dallas a 1-0 edge in the second. The pesky winger converted a nifty passing play from Eriksson 4:39 into the middle frame. Eriksson skated through the lower slot before sending a no-look behind-the-back pass to Ott at the doorstep. Ott didn't miss, tapping in his first goal in 11 games.
"It was quite a pass," Ott said. "I thought it was Christmas all over again and I was opening up a gift. I was just going hard to the net, and Loui's got so much in his toolbox, for me it was pretty simple."
The Predators tied it on their 32nd shot of the game with exactly a minute to go in the second period. While on the power play, the puck squirted to Wilson just outside the bottom portion of the left circle, and he deposited it into the net with a backhand.
The teams skated to a scoreless first period, but the stanza proved to be quite exciting, highlighted by Robidas' miraculous two saves on Nashville forwards Nick Spaling and Jerred Smithson. After Raycroft mishandled the puck in the left circle early on, Spaling stole it and went around the net to stuff it home. But Robidas slid and blocked it with his leg to thwart the opportunity.
Robidas wasn't done, though, as the rebound kicked out to Smithson, who fired it into Robidas' chest.
Nashville outshot the Stars by a 16-8 margin, and took the final 8 shots of the first.
The Stars immediately departed for home as they will host the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center (7:30 p.m. FS-SW). The Stars slipped past the Red Wings 4-3 in overtime in Detroit.10 days ago.
-- Defenseman Nicklas Grossman
didn't play for the second straight game because of an illness. Center Tom Wandell
(flu) and right wing Brandon Segal
were the other scratches.
-- Barch got into a scrap with Nashville right wing Wade Belak in the first period.
-- Ott's goal snapped the Stars' scoreless streak at 101 minutes, 58 seconds, a drought that went back to Brenden Morrow
's tally early in the third period of a 3-2 shootout loss to Calgary less than a week ago.
-- Ott also got into a second-period fight with Nashville's Shane O'Brien late in the period in a spirited battle.
-- The Stars went 0 for 4 on the power play, the second straight game they were held off the scoresheet while enjoying a man advantage.
-- Nashville converted on 1 of 6 power-play opportunities.
-- Eriksson has points in six of his last seven games.
-- Dallas has won four straight away from home.
|Three star selections