Boy, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn really outdid themselves tonight in the Dallas Stars' seven-goal outburst. That's what you might think when you glance at the box score after having missed this one- But it wasn't so.
Ryan Garbutt, Vernon Fiddler, Colton Sceviour, Alex Chiasson, Cody Eakin, Trevor Daley and Valeri Nichushkin all scored on "get healthy night" at American Airlines Center as Dallas' first meeting with Pekka Rinne of the season went OK, you might say.
On the back end Alex Goligoski added three assists and he and Trevor Daley both recorded +5 ratings on the evening.
Benn and Seguin had just an assist each, the latter extending his point streak to 11 games. We've bemoaned lack of secondary scoring at length in this space. There was no shortage of it tonight to give those guys a much needed night off from the pressure.
The Stars chose to go at Shea Weber and Roman Jose directly with the Benn line, and what was leftover in the other parts of their lineup were overwhelmed by a smart attack with speed by Dallas' other trios.
Still- A pretty fun night all the way around, however tomorrow shakes out.
It didn't start well. Oh, no. Two shifts for the Seguin line in the first three minutes yielded nearly less than nothing as Barry Trotz paraded Shea Weber out there every time, and the occasional Dallas attack seemed more like the exception than the rule.
Luckily their first real scoring chance of the period was a good one. Antoine Roussel won a puck battle deep in the corner and walked the puck up the far boards, spying a cutting Ryan Garbutt as he did. The pass into the slot was zippy and on target, and Garbutt deflected it past Rinne for a 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later it was Alex Goligiski with a very smart pass up the gut that spring Colton Sceviour into the zone with speed before he hit a trailing Vern Fiddler. #38 roofed a shot from distance past Rinne to double the lead.
Somewhere in there Shea Weber took down Jamie Benn some distance from a hockey puck and the officials are unaffected by it. Over-aggressive pinches by Dallas d-men was nearly a problem.
Nashville out-attempted Dallas 16-13 in the frame.
Lucky to get two past elite netminding on the other end, the Stars didn't exactly receive any of their own when Patric Hornqvist beat an unscreened Kari Lehtonen in the slot just three minutes in to cut the lead in half rather unexpectedly.
The response was impressive, though, when the Fiddler trio conducted a lengthy shift entirely in Nashville's end and eventually an Alex Goligoski point shot its way off Colton Sceviour in front, restoring the two-goal lead in an attempt to stem the Predator momentum.
A Ray Whitney point shot on the power play would get tipped home by Alex Chiasson for a seemingly commanding 4-1 Dallas lead, but Kari Lehtonen again could not find a puck that would elude him, pulling the Predators back in striking distance.
At that point Lehtonen was 0-2 on Nashville shots in the second period.
You'd think there would be much left to recount after all that, but the Stars kept pushing the pace and Trevor Daley found the back of the net after joining Benn, Seguin and Nichushkin on the rush to give Dallas five tallies through just 31 minutes of hockey.
After scoring on their first two shots of the second the Predators scored on their first of the third when Eric Nystrom fired a loose puck in the slot short side over Kari Lehtonen's shoulder, and a pretty rough night in goal for both sides continued.
That was the absolute last thing the Stars wanted with a chance to roll four lines and close out an easy one ahead of travel to St. Louis. Suddenly they found themselves in a battle again.
Nashville came relentlessly through the first television timeout, and then the game finally got away from them.
A Valeri Nichushkin bid after a nice little move to cut into the middle went off Shea Weber's stick and past Rinne for the 6-3 lead, and then nine seconds later a Ryan Garbutt center pass was knifed at by Cody Eakin for another that rose over Rinne's shoulder.
7-3 Stars at that point with a full 12 minutes left to play. Save some for tomorrow, guys.