Stars 6, Predators 3

The Dallas Stars got off to a fast start, then held off
Nashville’s latest comeback bid.

Vernon Fiddler, Loui Eriksson and Steve Ott scored during a span
of 3:05 in the first period and Dallas went on to beat the
Predators 6-3 on Friday night.

”One of the keys was getting on them right away,” Fiddler
said.

Dallas rookie Richard Bachman stopped 34 shots in his seventh
consecutive start in place of Kari Lehtonen, who is out with a
groin injury but is expected back within a week.

Bachman was perfect in the first period while Nashville had 17
shots on goal, and good enough the rest of the way to improve his
record to 5-2.

”He’s had tough times in that we’re playing him in just about
every game,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. ”I thought he made
some key saves tonight. He left a couple of rebounds that we
cleaned up, and that’s not like him.”

Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn also scored for the Stars. Michael
Ryder had an empty-net goal and two assists.

The Predators were coming off a 6-5 home win over Columbus on
Thursday night, when they rallied from a three-goal deficit. This
time, their comeback bid fell short.

”We’re down 3-0 right away,” coach Barry Trotz said. ”You
can’t dig yourself a hole and come out of it every night. You’re
battling back, gaining momentum, the next shift is crucial. We did
that twice (gave up a goal after narrowing the deficit to one) and
that’s unacceptable. We’ve got to firm up.”

Second-period goals by Matt Halischuk and Martin Erat drew the
Predators to 3-2, but Ribeiro got one back for Dallas later in the
second to extend the advantage.

David Legwand’s power-play goal at 4:38 of the third again
pulled the Predators within a goal at 4-3, but Benn’s goal 30
seconds later restored the Stars’ two-goal cushion.

”Those response goals really hurt Nashville tonight,” Gulutzan
said.

Ryder’s empty-netter at 17:53 of the third period wrapped up the
victory.

Dallas struck first when Fiddler swept a loose puck into the
upper right corner of the net from the left circle at 9:25 of the
first period.

Eriksson needed only 1:16 after Fiddler’s goal to make it 2-0 on
a wrister from the left circle, and Ott’s deflection at 12:30
stretched Dallas’ lead.

”We can’t fall behind every game,” Nashville captain Shea
Weber said. ”We think we can come back. We score a huge goal, but
we give up a goal on the next shift.”

Trotz pulled starting goalie Pekka Rinne after Ott’s goal,
inserting Anders Lindback.

Halischuk got the Predators on the board at 8:56 of the second,
powering a rebound past Bachman during a pileup in front of the
net.

Erat struck from the right circle during a 5-on-3 at 11:45 of
the second to make it a one-goal game, but Ribeiro extended Dallas’
lead to 4-2 at 14:10 on a sharp-angle shot.

”We came back with big goals at the right time,” Ribeiro said.
”To get quick goals like that meant that we always had the
lead.”

NOTES: Stars D Sheldon Souray left early in the second period
with an ankle injury and did not return. … Dallas scored on three
of its first seven shots. … The Stars allowed 13 goals in their
previous three games. … The Predators have given up 15 goals in
their last three. … Dallas D Philip Larsen was back after missing
two games with a lower body injury. … F Tomas Vincour (knee) and
D Stephane Robidas (foot) were out for the Stars. … Nashville D
Kevin Klein (flu) missed the game. … Ott’s deflection goal stood
after a video review to determine if his stick was above the
crossbar when it made contact with the puck.