Dallas Stars Survive Nashville Predators, Stay Ahead of Phoenix with 3-2 Shootout Victory

Ronald Martinez

Aaaannnnnnd.... exhale.

Moment of silence for the Nashville Predators.

...

They put up a heck of a good fight, however. The Dallas Stars took another lead into the third period and watched it evaporate, but hung on this time long enough to get to a shootout, and the skill players did the rest.

You know, Vern Fiddler and Tyler Seguin?

The two points moves the Dallas Stars an even two above the Phoenix Coyotes, which puts them in a rather interesting place - one where they can conceivably do nothing in these next two games and still be alive on Sunday, even if the Coyotes win their next two against Nashville and San Jose.

Dallas would then be in the un-envious position of needing a REGULATION win Sunday in Glendale to clinch their first playoff berth since 2008.

An overtime or shootout loss point between now and then gives them more options. A victory between now and then and a regulation loss by Phoenix wraps things up before Sunday. There are so many possibilities.

Tonight's win was hard fought, and not always pretty.

Alex Goligoski opened the scoring with assists from the soon-to-be hero Vern Fiddler and near-goat Colton Sceviour, whose giveaway in the overtime period nearly made things ever so painful.

Giveaways were the stat of the night for Dallas, being credited with 21 officially. Tyler Seguin led the way with five.

Nashville hammered the Stars in the second period, out-shooting them 15-6 with only Kari Lehtonen standing tall enough to keep things in Dallas' favor after Jamie Benn broke the tie for a 2-1 lead halfway through the frame. He has four goals and an assist in his last three games, though took a minus-1 rating tonight.

Brenden Dillon's turnover behind his own blue line to Paul Gaustad nearly ruined the larger picture. Gaustad found a streaking Bourque in the middle to tie things up and Dallas had to survive in a playoff-tight atmosphere until the horn sounded ending the first 60 minutes.

Jamie Benn was the alpha-male throughout this evening, and nearly scored on half a dozen chances if not for blocked shots and broken sticks. Cody Eakin was also a player of note, though his stat line shows just six shot attempts.

The Stars power play - that darned power play - had a chance to play hero again tonight and failed. A lengthy 5-on-3 was threatening and did everything but score. That was the only sequence of power play time the saintly Predators allowed, and Dallas gave the Preds only once chance.

Six combined penalty minutes. Six. Which is the way such a fine, if stressful contest should be.

Speaking of stress, then came the shootout.

Jordie Benn. Jamie Benn. Vern Fiddler. That's what was announced. And the collective "huh?" went out from the masses.

Jordie tried the one move he seems to know. It worked on the penalty shot and his first shootout attempt but failed tonight. The book is out on him. Jamie tried a cheeky off-speed five-hole play on which Rinne did not bite. And though Kari Lehtonen stopped the first two shooters, Roman Josi appeared to have the game winner.

But then old plucky Fidds stepped up to the plate. And promptly... fell down.

And then got right up off his experienced arse, losing little, if any, speed, and scored to keep things alive. Tyler Seguin and Kari Lehtonen took care of it from there, and two points were secured.

Which is a good thing. Tired legs were on display tonight. And Columbus arrives tomorrow to make up the Peverley game, a 1-0 lead in hand.

A battle won tonight. A huge two points. And more awaits, mercilessly.

They're a step closer, though, to where they want to go. Just keep pushing.

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