Forsberg, Rinne lead Predators past Stars
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Pekka Rinne doesn't want November to end.
Filip Forsberg, James Neal and Ryan Johansen each had a goal and an assist to lead the Nashville Predators over the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Rinne made 33 saves for Nashville, improving to 7-1-2 this November. After he made eight saves in the first, Dallas put 22 on the Finn in the second, and he denied them all. He stopped 3 of 5 in the third.
“They came hard that period, they shot the puck a lot,” Rinne said of the second. “For the most part, I was able to see it. I felt good all night, and that was a busy period. Obviously now looking back, that was a big period just being able to defend that.”
Mike Fisher and Craig Smith also scored for Nashville, winners of three of four.
Patrick Sharp and Brett Ritchie scored and Kari Lehtonen made 16 saves for the Stars, who have lost two of three.
“There was a lot of good stuff in the game,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “Our energy was good. I thought the second period on, our breakouts coming out of our own end were good.”
Forsberg scored the game's first goal with 5:08 left in the opening period. With the puck above the right faceoff circle, P.K. Subban sent a pass to Forsberg in the lower part of the left circle. There, Forsberg squeezed the puck in between Lehtonen's right skate and the right post.
“It was a really nice play by Subby to find me back door and I just tried to hit the net,” Forsberg said.
It was Forsberg's second goal of the season. In 2015-16, Forsberg matched a franchise record with 33 goals.
Subban has points in four consecutive games.
Fisher doubled the lead with 3:54 left in the second. His initial attempt from the left side was blocked by Jason Spezza, but Fisher regained control of the puck, skated behind the net and beat Lehtonen with a backhanded wraparound.
A lengthy video review determined the puck had completely crossed the goal line, giving the Nashville captain his fourth goal of the season.
Sharp got Dallas on the scoreboard at 5:32 of the third with a short-handed goal. It was the first of the season for Sharp, who missed 14 games with concussion-like symptoms before returning Nov. 17.
“Yeah, disappointing third period,” Sharp said. “We kind of put ourselves in a good spot there on the road trailing by one against a tough team. It's not a bad spot to be in, but a couple of mistakes ended up being the difference in the game.”
Johansen answered 41 seconds later with a power-play goal. Neal sent a pass from the left circle in front to Johansen, who had a tap-in for his second of the season.
“That was a really big goal,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “At that point, they had fired a lot of shots, a lot of attempts. We were on the power play and there's a chance to really blow it open, and we give one back the other way. I don't think there was much time left in the power play, maybe 25 seconds or so and to go out there, get it in and get it to the net, and score a goal and take back the two goals at that point I think was really important.”
The assist was the 200th of Neal's career.
Smith scored with 8:51 left off Forsberg's pass.
Ritchie scored his sixth of the season with 1:16 left, but Neal answered a minute later with an empty-net goal.
NOTES: Nashville D Ryan Ellis played in his 300th career NHL game. … The Predators have allowed four short-handed goals against this season. … The Stars are 0-8-1 when trailing after two periods this season. … Dallas D John Klingberg returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch Monday against Minnesota.
Stars: Host Vancouver on Friday night.
Predators: Host Winnipeg on Friday night to begin a home-and-home series.