When you are on a losing streak you will never get the breaks or the calls and that proved true again on Saturday when the Dallas Stars beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 at American Airlines Center.
Dallas came back from a 2-1 deficit with two goals in the final period to win their second game in a row after a five-game losing streak. The Stars got goals from Tom Wandell, Alex Goligoski, and Loui Eriksson while the Preds got markers from Ryan Suter and Colin Wilson.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 of 27 Predator shots to claim the win, while Pekka Rinne was once again the hard luck loser allowing three goals on 25 shots.
The opening period was like so many that the Preds have seen recently with plenty of wide open play and questionable defense at times. Wandell opened the scoring on a two on one breakaway at 18:06 after a turnover at the end of a Preds’ man advantage to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.
While the Preds outshot the Stars, 12-11, Dallas had the better of the scoring chances; but Rinne made several key saves to keep the game close.
The Predators had a better second period with a pair of goals off of rebounds in the dirty area in front of the net. Just 5:00 into the middle stanza, Suter got his first goal in 27 games of a rebound from a David Legwand shot. Moments later, Wilson got a goal off of another Legwand shot rebound at 13:32 when he made a play that left him sprawled out on the ice and put the Preds ahead 2-1 to end the period. In the middle period, the Predators out shot the Stars, 8-5, and did a much better job of controlling the flow of the game.
The Predators got an unfortunate break in the third period at 6:02 when Goligoski flipped a wrister from the blue line that glanced off Jon Blum and then took an odd bounce off the ice and jumped past a startled Rinne to tie the game.
After a boarding penalty on Shea Weber at 15:12, Dallas made a great play on the rush after a botched Predator short-handed rush. Goligoski fired an easy shot wide of the net that Eriksson redirected into the net at 16:18 for the game-winning goal.
Barry Trotz called a time out with a minute left in the game and the Preds played with an extra skater and even drew a penalty with eight seconds left but could not score in spite of a feverish effort. In the final period, Dallas out shot Nashville, 9-7.
Blake Geoffrion made his NHL debut and saw limited duty, skating nine shifts in 5:14 minutes of play. He was 0-3 in the face off circle and was officially credited with a take away and had a shot blocked. Matt Halischuk played less than Geoffrion with seven shifts and 4:20 of action in his first game back with Nashville.
The loss extends the Predators current losing streak to four games as they remain in tenth place in the Western Conference with 70 points.
The Predators returned home immediately after the game and will face the Columbus Blue Jackets at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Bridgestone Arena. The Jackets are two points behind the Preds and could move past Nashville in the standings with a win in regulation.