Stars inch closer to playoffs with SO win vs. Preds
The Dallas Stars coughed up the lead not once but twice, but in the end it was Tyler Seguin who bailed them out of what was a pretty sloppy performance in a 3-2 shootout win against the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night.
With that victory, the Stars’ 39th of the season, Dallas now moves two points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes, who lost 3-2 in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier on Tuesday night in Glendale.
Columbus will be in Dallas on Wednesday night to face the Stars in the ever-rare home back-to-back, the makeup game from the March 10 contest that was suspended after Dallas center Rich Peverley collapsed early in the first period with a cardiac event.
The Stars took an early lead when Alex Goligoski blistered a wrister past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne 2:23 into the game. However, Nashville tied it up early in the second when Gabriel Bourque scored the first of two in the game 1:22 into the middle frame.
Dallas regained the lead at 8:16 of the second when Stars captain Jamie Benn rifled a wrister past Rinne to make it 2-1. However, Nashville pulled the game level again midway through the third when Bourque struck again after a costly miscue by Dallas defenseman Brenden Dillon in the corner near the Stars’ goal.
After a scoreless extra frame, this one headed to the shootout. And when Roman Josi scored as Nashville’s third shooter, it looked like the Preds might prevail. However, Stars center Vernon Fiddler, who once played in the Music City, scored on Dallas’ third chance after falling down earlier in his attempt to force the extra round.
Once Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen denied a wrister from Nashville’s Matt Cullen in the fourth round, it set the stage for Seguin to play the role of hero. He delivered, sending a wrister over Rinne’s glove for the clincher and ending Nashville’s playoff hopes for a second straight year.
"We’ve worked hard for this. We’ve got to close the deal," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "There’s a lot of excitement in that room. Those guys were excited this morning, they were excited before the game and we’ve just got to keep on working."
Dallas could have ended it late in the third period when they had a 5-on-3 power play, however the Stars were unable to convert on either opportunity, which factored into this one heading to the extra frame.
"We had two or three good looks but it didn’t go," Ruff said. "That part was disappointing because we could have seized a great opportunity in the game. You talk about those opportunities during the game to take over control of the momentum and that was one. I thought the energy we got out of it was good. We moved it around well and had a couple of great looks. One pass from Chiasson to Seguin over to Benn just caught the heel of a guy’s skate which made it a little bit tougher. But, we got the looks we wanted."
Another disconcerting number from this shootout win was 21 as in the number of giveaways the Stars had compared to just five by the Predators.
"There’s two things that tells me-there’s some fatigue in our game and some guys are feeling the pressure," Ruff said. "I’ve already talked to several guys about the fact that we need to make plays and trust that the guy is going to be there. If the opposition makes a great play defending us, I can live with that. I don’t want the turnovers where we throw it at the wall or into the middle of the ice. That’s something I’ve got to work and get these guys over."
Dallas gets their chance to atone on Wednesday against Columbus.