The Dallas Stars felt like they let one get away on April 15, after giving up the deciding goal in a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators. They weren’t going to let that happen again as the Stars jumped out early, leading to the most lopsided game of the series with a 5-1 Dallas win.
Roope Hintz picked up the first playoff goal of his young NHL career. The Preds saw Mattias Ekholm sent to the box for High-Sticking three minutes into the first period. Tyler Seguin had a shot blocked early in the power play and the Stars were able to cash in with a snipe just outside the faceoff zone by Hintz.
Less than a minute later, the Stars were back on the power play with Filip Forsberg flipping the puck over the glass. Having Forsberg off the ice took one of the best Preds skaters off the ice in addition to giving the Stars an advantage.
Not long into the power play, the Stars scored again, this time with Alexander Radulov.
As good as his goal was, Radulov was sent to the penalty box for Roughing. Ben Bishop faced one shot on goal with the Preds power play and the Stars defense stepped up with three blocked shots.
Dallas’ attack resumed and just over eight minutes into the first period, the Stars had put the Preds in a 3-0 hole. Blake Comeau put a slap shot on Pekka Rinne and a rebound attempt left a wide open net for Andrew Cogliano.
More penalty plays ensued with Calle Jarnkrok sent to the box for Holding and Ekholm was sent in for High-Sticking. Dallas had a couple of shots on goal before Mats Zuccarello got on the scoreboard.
Since joining the Stars after being traded by the New York Rangers, Zuccarello has brought an impact to Dallas. He’s only played in two games prior to the playoffs, sustaining an upper-body injury after making his debut.
Zuccarello has now scored three goals in this series and has a +2 rating against the Preds in the past four games.
Hintz strikes again
Hintz already had a great night going, scoring once and picking up an assist in the first period. Halfway through period two, Hintz was given another quality chance at netting a goal. He didn’t disappoint the fans clad in green.
Keeping the Preds off the board
One goalie was fantastic on the night, while the other was anything but. Rinne was chased after allowing four goals in the first period on eight shot attempts. Ben Bishop had 20 saves through two periods, preserving a shutout in “Big D”. One of the oldest and most experienced goalies in terms of playoff experience, Bishop was up for the challenge of helping Dallas tie up the series.
Roman ends the shutout
Bishop was accurately represented by a brick wall with nine save attempts in three minutes of the third period. Viktor Arvidsson, Mikael Granlund, and Ryan Johansen threw four quality chances at Bishop in a 10-second span, but none got through.
The Preds played desperate as the period proceeded, resulting in a Delay of Game penalty by Juuse Saros and shortly after Colton Sissons was sent to the box for Slashing. Zuccarello was also called for Slashing, leaving four Stars and three Preds on the ice.
Nashville had a brief power play themselves after Saros was let out, but nothing came of it. Roman Josi took a chance and weaved a shot through a line of skaters, blocking out Bishop’s line of sight and ending the shutout.
With little hope remaining, the Preds threw another five shots on goal in the final 12 minutes of regulation, with each swallowed by Bishop.
Saros saved 20 shots on 21 attempts, an improvement from Rinne allowing four goals on eight attempts. For the Stars, Bishop ended his night with 34 saves on 35 shot attempts.
With the win, the Stars tied up the series 2-2 and guarantee another home game. The series heads back to “Smashville” for game five on April 20 and will return to Dallas April 22.