Preds beat Stars to end road skid

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

DALLAS -- The Nashville Predators got goals from Gabriel Bourque, Shea Weber and Colin Wilson and Pekka Rinne made 22 saves in a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on Sunday night.

"I actually thought we managed the game pretty well," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "It was tight at the end. The guys really battled at the back end, especially in the last two minutes."

The win snapped a four-game road winless streak for the Predators (34-19-6), while Dallas fell to 0-9-2 in the second leg of back-to-backs, the League's only winless team in such games.

"Yeah, we were playing well on the road early on, so it's good to get that off our back and hopefully get going the way we were before," Weber said.

The Stars broke scoreless tie as winger Michael Ryder continued his recent run of good form, beating Rinne with a wrister just 6:49 into the first period. Mike Ribeiro picked up the primary assist, curling around the Predators net before feeding Ryder, who was stationed in the slot. Ryder now has a five-game point streak.

However, that tally proved to be the lone goal of the night for the Stars as the visitors proceeded to score three unanswered in the win.

At 15:39 of the opening period, Nashville tied things up when Bourque deflected a blast by David Legwand past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen for his third goal of the season. Lehtonen had lost his stick trying to intercept a pass by the Predators' Matt Halischuk, and Bourque deflected his teammate's shot inside the left post.

With 51 seconds left in the opening period, Nashville went on the power play for the first time after Dallas rookie defenseman Philip Larsen was whistled for a high stick on Sergei Kostitsyn. The Predators quickly made the Stars pay as Weber scored off a rebound with 0.1 seconds left for a 2-1 lead. Ryan Suter had the initial shot, which Lehtonen made a blocker save on, but Weber knocked in the rebound just before the horn sounded. The goal was allowed following a brief video review.

"We make a mental error with 11 seconds left, and we did not know what our escape route was off that face-off.  We won it clean and couldn't get it out," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said of Weber's tally. "And that's a mistake that can't happen.  It just can't happen."

Nashville nearly took a 3-1 lead at 9:52 of the second period after an apparent goal by Halischuk off a rebound. However, after an official review, it was nullified as the puck struck Halischuk's glove before going in.
At 16:05 of the second, the Predators did double their advantage after Wilson got the puck in the corner, weaved through three Dallas players and beat Lehtonen with a backhander to make it 3-1.

Rinne was tested by the Stars early in the third, denying shots from both Tomas Vincour and Jake Dowell at close range. At 6:01, the Nashville netminder again denied Vincour, this time from the right circle and a wrister by Dallas rookie Ryan Garbutt at 6:05 struck the far post.

Dallas cut it to 3-2 at 15:11 of the third when Alex Goligoski sent a long wrister off Rinne's pad and into the back of the net. The Nashville netminder had sent the puck around the boards, an attempt that Goligoski intercepted and the Stars defenseman got his shot off before Rinne had time to adequately set himself.
Before Sunday's win by the Predators, Dallas had been 5-1-1 in its last seven home games against Nashville. The Stars had also won the first two meetings this season.

"Yeah, it's good to get the win," Weber said. "We hadn't played well against Dallas at all this year. We've lost twice to them and they weren't even close games, so it was good to get the win."

The Stars had one last power play when Hal Gill, playing in his first game for Nashville after being acquired in a Friday trade with Montreal, was whistled for tripping Ryder. Dallas pulled Lehtonen with 1:25 remaining and had several quality chances with the extra attacker, including a close-range miss by Ribeiro with less than a minute remaining, but the Predators escaped with the win.
Lehtonen stopped 18 of 21 shots in the loss, his ninth consecutive start for the Stars.

"Kari is battling to get us into a playoff spot and he's hungry," Gulutzan said. "We'll play if we tell him to and he always wants to play, so we're going to use him."
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