Nashville convincingly beaten by Stars
Just three points separated the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators going into their game last night played at the Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee. The Stars were looking to bounce back after they lost were beaten by the Red Wings 5-4 on Wednesday night in an absolute thriller at the American Airlines Center. Nashville welcomed back their captain Shea Weber into the line-up after missing four games with concussion.
With a few changes made to their lines, the Stars started the game well and took a one goal lead in the first after a great bit of skill from Mike Ribeiro, who danced by several defenders before slotting it past Pekka Rinne with four minutes gone in the first. The Predators came straight back into the game after conceding and they made their pressure show as young Canadian Gabriel Bourque netted his first NHL career goal by firing a wrist shot past Kari Lehtonen. It turned out to be quite an even first period, but the Stars scored a late period goal as Mike Ribeiro tidied up a goalmouth scramble to get his second of the night to give Dallas a 2-1 lead going into the locker rooms after one.
The Stars dominated the early part of the second period with the Predators not recording a shot in first five minutes. A very poor mistake from Nashville defensively left Jamie Benn with the puck and Pekka Rinne losing track of it. Benn took advantage to give the Stars a two goal lead and take his tally to 11 on the season. The second frame definitely belonged to the Stars as they rattled the iron three times and recorded 14 shots. The Predators didn’t pose any threat at all to Lehtonen in the Dallas goal as the period came to an end with a 3-1 lead to the Stars after a solid frame of hockey.
In front of a very loud crowd, Nashville were going to have to score at least two goals in the third if they wanted to take anything from the game. The final frame wasn’t the best period of hockey you will see this season as both teams gave up six penalties each, reducing the flow of the game. Just 13 shots were recorded from the Preds and Stars combined but the Stars did manage to score to close out the game and brighten the period up a bit. Adam Burish showed great determination to get to the front of the net and tip in Tom Wandell's slapshot to make it 4-1 to the Stars. Eight minutes later the final buzzer sounded and the Stars took the two points in Nashville, which is not an easy place to get a win.
The win leaves the Stars just a point outside of the playoff spots, and they play their next game on Saturday afternoon as they welcome the struggling Edmonton Oilers to the American Airlines Center.