Stars deal Predators fifth straight loss

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rookie Alex Chiasson scored two goals, and the Dallas Stars beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Friday night for their fourth straight win as they try to keep their improbable playoff hopes alive.

Ray Whitney had a power-play goal and an assist, and Erik Cole and Tom Wandell had a goal apiece. Vern Fiddler also had two assists for the Stars, who started the night 10th in the Western Conference — three points behind eighth-place Detroit.

Richard Bachman stopped 26 shots and improved to 5-3. He started in place of Kari Lehtonen, who was scratched because of a lower body injury.

Taylor Beck and Bobby Butler scored for Nashville, which has lost five straight and eight of nine.

Dallas also snapped a four-game skid against Nashville and avoided being swept this season by their future division rival.

The Predators are trying to stay in the playoff race despite forwards Colin Wilson, Paul Gaustad and Gabriel Bourque already being set for season-ending operations. Mike Fisher and Brandon Yip also were scratched because of injuries.

Nashville also gave goalie Pekka Rinne a break after he started 25 straight games, putting Chris Mason in net for the first time since Feb. 18.

The Stars jumped on Nashville early, going up 1-0 when Cole’s slap shot out near the blue line beat Mason at 6:59 of the first period. The Stars scored on two of their first three shots. Whitney netted a power-play goal on a one-timer from the left side at 8:40.

It could have been worse for the Predators, but Cole knocked the puck off the crossbar before Whitney whiffed on the rebound during Dallas’ second man advantage of the period.

Nashville scored a power-play goal when Brenden Dillon went into the penalty box for interference at 17:54. Beck tapped the puck past Bachman at 18:42 after it went off Patric Hornqvist’s skate from the other side of the net.

Dallas took control for good by scoring twice in the second. Wandell scored his first goal this season on a tip-in at 2:28 for a 3-1 lead as the Stars caught Nashville on a line change. Nick Spaling just missed wide right before Chiasson scored from in front, beating Mason between the pads.

Chiasson netted his second of the game and fifth of his career unassisted at 7:03 of the third.

Nashville outshot Dallas 28-18 and showed some fight as Butler scored from the left circle on a wrister that bounced in off the post at 12:12. The Predators thought they got closer but an official immediately waved off the would-be goal because Rich Clune kicked in the puck.

NOTES: The Stars are 6-0 in Friday games. … Stars LW Eric Nystrom played in his 400th career NHL game. … Fiddler has two goals and seven assists in his last five games. … Prospect Filip Forsberg, a trade-deadline pickup from Washington, is expected to play in the Predators’ final five games. … Sergei Kostitsyn was given a major penalty and was ejected for boarding Stars RW Matt Fraser with 3:29 left.