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Dallas downs the Predators 4-3

The Dallas Stars kicked off the second half of their season Wednesday night against the Central’s number two team the Nashville Predators. A 4-3 gave the Stars a lift they needed after the All-Star break.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a crushing loss at home to the Calgary Flames right before the All-Star break, the Dallas Stars welcomed the Nashville Predators into the American Airlines Center. The tilt would prove to be a pivotal match-up for a Stars team looking to bank points against their Central Division rival as they try to keep pace in the Western Conference Wild Card race. This was only the second meeting against the Predators this season, the first resulting in an emphatic home loss back in the early portion of the schedule. The Predators came into the evening holding the second spot in the Central Division, providing the Stars a stiff test as they try to find some consistency in their overall game.

First Period:

From the drop of the puck the Nashville Predators consistently took the game to the Stars all across the ice. The Predators were aided in their early territorial domination by a Joe Pavelski slashing minor, which luckily for the Stars resulted in no shots for the visitors. However, as the game approached the ten minute mark Nashville held a 3-0 shot advantage that didn’t quite do their play justice. The Predators were able to swarm the Stars with their relentless forecheck and physical brand of hockey.

The Stars would be handed a golden opportunity to shift their engine out of neutral when the Predators took two costly penalties. The first minor on Yakov Trenin for a vicious elbow to the head of John Klingberg forced the game into four-on-four action. Moments into the 4 on 4 sequence the Predators would take another minor for holding handing the Stars a dangerous four-on-three powerplay. The Stars first foray on the man advantage would bear fruit as Jason Robertson deflected a point shot from John Klingberg past the glove of Jusse Soros.

The penalty parade early in the hockey game would continue when Roman Josi was called for tripping, sending the Stars back to the power play. Unfortunately for the Stars, Miro Heiskanen would be called for tripping a shade over a minute into the Stars second power play. After the four-on-four wrapped up the Predators went to work on their second power play of the night. The Stars penalty-killers would deftly extinguish the remaining time on the Heiskanen minor, sending the Predators to 0-for-2 on the man advantage.

Shortly after the game resumed following the Predators failed power play, the Preds were able to gain sufficient offensive zone time. Their work paid off when Michael McCarron beat Jake Oettinger with a nice tip in front. The goal tied the game and wrapped up an exciting first fifteen minutes to the contest that saw multiple power plays for each side and quality scoring chances.

Score:

Dallas 1 Nashville 1

Shots:

Dallas 5 Nashville 5

Second Period:

The first couple of shifts of the period transpired without incident until Ben Harpur decided to join in on the parade to the penalty box, giving the Stars their third power play of the game. For the first minute and change of the advantage the Stars were largely unable to produce anything that gave the Predators defense trouble, culminating in an offsides call. However, the Stars would be gifted a five-on-three advantage when Nashville took yet another minor penalty. The Stars top trio would come dangerously close to breaking the tie, but that would be about it for the Stars prime chances on the power play.

Following the chaotic moments of the penalty filled first few minutes, the second period settled down into a normal pace of play. The Predators were still the more physical team, competing on every puck and finishing their checks along the wall. At the midway point in the period the Stars seemed to have found a way to at least generate chances at the Nashville net, holding an 11 to 7 shot advantage. For their work, the work of Soros was equal to the task, the Preds netminder looking confident and comfortable in the cage.

As the middle frame reached its later stages the Predators would again find themselves in penalty trouble, this time in the manner of a Filip Foresberg delay-of-game penalty. The power play would be of standard fare until the Stars finally broke the tie when Jason Roberston scored once again from a John Klingberg pass.

However, the Stars lead would be remarkably short lived, with the Predators marching back down the ice nineteen seconds later and tying the game on a Matt Duchene goal in tight on Oettinger.

The Stars would do some dogged work in the neutral zone following the Nashville goal, led by the trio of Pavelski, Hintz, and Robertson once again. This time Roope Hintz forced a neutral zone turnover, creating a partial breakaway that he would convert on to restore the Stars one-goal lead. The Predators would strike back with a mere nine seconds left in the period when a net-mouth scramble culminated in a goal for Yakov Trenin. The play would be reviewed courtesy of a coaches challenge by the Stars for goalie interference. After further review of the play the goal was deemed legal and the Stars found themselves a man down for incorrectly challenging the play.

Score:

Dallas 3 Nashville 3

Shots:

Dallas 17 Nashville14

Third Period:

Nashville would start the third period with nearly two minutes of carryover power play time following the Stars failed challenge on the late goal to end the second period. Dallas would continue a strong string of penalty killing, surviving the latest Preds attack, but dealing with an increased urgency in the visitors forecheck.

The Stars finally broke through the Predators attack and generated a two-on-one off of a Josi turnover. Michael Raffle would feed a great pass to Luke Glendenning who made no mistake in depositing his seventh goal of the season past Soros. The goal gave the Stars their fourth lead of the game and proved a big bounce back from a deflating end of the second period.

Immediately following the Stars go-ahead tally, the Predators would take their sixth penalty of the game when Jamie Benn was tripped right in front of the net by Josi. Dallas would fail to establish pressure through the first ninety seconds of the advantage, and would see the power play expire without tacking on an insurance marker. Dallas would come close to adding their fifth goal of the night when Tyler Seguin galloped in on a breakaway only to see Soros make his best save of the night with his outstretched pad.

With under five minutes remaining in the contest the Predators tried to up the pace on their side, but Dallas was able to control the neutral zone and transition back into the offensive zone. This type of effort was in direct contrast with the way the Stars played in their last outing against the Flames when the Stars spent nearly no time past the red line in the third period.

Nashville pulled Soros with just over two minutes remaining in the period giving them a six-on-five advantage in man power. Dallas was relentless in their forecheck and in-zone defending in the final minute of the game, not allowing the Predators offense to breath any life into the game. With a shade over a second left in the game Raffl would take a penalty, giving the Predators a last gasp chance that was for not.

Final:

Dallas 4 Nashville 3

Shots:

Dallas 27 Nashville 23